Rep. Jim Banks seeks to improve EHR interoperability between VA, DOD with new legislation

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Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., is drafting legislation aimed at enhancing EHR interoperability efforts between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, FedScoop reports.

Both departments are in the process of transitioning to Cerner EHRs, but the Interagency Program Office, which oversees EHR interoperability between the VA and DOD, is not effectively "living up to Congress' vision for a single point of interoperability," said Mr. Banks, who also serves as chairman of the House VA's Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, according to the report.

"The idea is the IPO should be repurposed to organize all aspects of interoperability, not just the [EHRs], between DOD, VA and the [ONC for Health IT]," Mr. Banks said April 2 at a House VA Technology Modernization Subcommittee meeting, FedScoop reports. "The departments will have to figure out what level of centralized control they want, but we need to focus on comprehensive interoperability."

In August, Mr. Banks sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie expressing concern over the leadership of the VA's Office for EHR modernization, after its chief health information officer Genevieve Morris resigned. VA established the OEHRM in June 2018 to oversee the roll out of the VA's Cerner system, which was originally scheduled for October of that year. The VA has since extended the launch of the new EHR system until 2028.

Mr. Banks' staff has been issued a summary of his proposed legislation, which Mr. Banks said they are trying to finalize, according to the report.

To access the full report, click here.

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