Lawmakers question VA's readiness for new EHR go-live date after delays

Lawmakers on March 5 expressed their concerns over the delayed rollout of the Department of Veterans Affairs' $16 billion Cerner EHR, which is now scheduled to deploy in July, Military Times reports.

While the members of Congress said they aren't worried about the current schedule delay of the system, which was planned for March 28 at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., they are concerned that there may be more delays in the future.

"We have four months now to build, to test, to train, to deal with the infrastructure issues," Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., and chairwoman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's panel on technology, told project officials, according to the report. "We hope you get this right. This is an incredibly important project not just for VA, but for healthcare across the country."

Several lawmakers have recently expressed concerns that the VA's EHR delay occurred without warning, signaling that the department has not adequately communicated its progress, according to the report. The department confirmed the project delay in mid-February, citing the need for more time to finish building the EHR. 

"A month ago I was told by Secretary (Robert) Wilkie that everything was on track with the electronic health record modernization rollout with no anticipated issues, and just a week later we were told that the go-live was going to be postponed until July," said committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif.

More than 23 million veteran medical records have already been transferred into the new EHR, according to Travis Dalton, president of Cerner Government Services, the publication reports.

"Incredible progress is being made," Mr. Dalton said. "We are supportive of the revised go-live schedule and the decision to take additional time for testing and end-user training. We heard the advice from this committee to take the time to get it right, and listened to the provider community."

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