Senators look to restructure VA's Oracle Cerner EHR rollout

Three U.S. senators are introducing a bill that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase oversight of its Oracle Cerner EHR modernization program, as well as restructure its leadership team overseeing the implementation. 

The bill introduced March 29 is backed by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., John Tester, D-Mont., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and would require the VA to do the following if passed:

  • Increase oversight on the VA EHR implementation.

  • Require the VA and Oracle Cerner to fix tech issues with the system that were cited in the VA's 2023 Sprint Report.  

  • Develop another plan if Oracle Cerner does not agree to a new contract that requires them to increase accountability and penalties for poor performance of the system.

  • Report to Congress quarterly about its information technology systems and how it will fix any issues that arise with them. 

  • Appoint a negotiator that can help the VA navigate EHR negotiations with Oracle Cerner.

  • Reform VA's acquisitions.

  • Add healthcare experts to the VA's Advisory Committee that can help advise the EHR implementation. 

The proposed legislation comes as four patient deaths were linked to the rollout of the Oracle Cerner EHR system at some VA medical facilities.

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