Senators call for increased oversight of VA's $16B Cerner EHR installation

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced legislation April 16 that calls for the creation of a third-party committee to oversee the Department of Veterans Affairs' Cerner EHR installation.

The proposed EHR Advisory Committee would comprise 11 members who would operate separately from the VA and U.S. Department of Defense. Members of the committee would include medical professionals, information technology and interoperability specialists as well as veterans.

The VA partnered with Cerner in May 2018 to develop and deploy an EHR across its care network. The 10-year contract is worth $16 billion.

The bill requires that the committee "analyze the VA's strategy for implementation, develop a risk management plan, tour VA facilities as they transition to the new system and ensure veterans, VA employees and medical staff, and other participants have a voice in the process," according to a news release. The committee will also meet with the VA secretary at least two times per year to discuss their analysis and recommendations.

"The new [EHR] system is too important to veterans' healthcare for the VA to get wrong," Mr. Tester said in a news release. "Our bill will create another layer of accountability and oversight of the process to make sure the VA rollout does right by the [9] million veterans who will rely on this system."

To access the bill, click here.

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