VA confirms: Without permanent leadership, it will push forward with EHR modernization

Despite the leadership shakeup at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency is still prioritizing its EHR modernization efforts, VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour clarified in a public statement issued April 25.

"Under Acting Secretary Wilkie's leadership, senior VA officials are now on the same page, speaking with one voice to Veterans, employees and outside stakeholders, such as Congress and veterans service organizations, and are focused on a number of key priorities in the short term," Mr. Cashour wrote.

Robert Wilkie stepped in to serve as acting secretary following the firing of former Secretary David Shulkin, MD. President Donald Trump nominated Rear. Adm. Ronny Jackson, MD, a White House physician, to lead the agency, but Dr. Jackson rescinded his nomination amid allegations of misconduct on the job.

Last year, Dr. Shulkin announced the VA's intent to transition its legacy EHR, VistA, to Cerner; however, many have expressed concern over its commitment to continuing that overhaul amid the leadership changes.

In its fiscal year 2019 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill released April 25, the House Appropriations Committee — which is now considered a subcommittee — allotted $1.2 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs' new EHR. That amount is drastically lower than prior estimates of $16 billion.

Now, according to Mr. Cashour, the VA's specific near-term priorities are to "finalize a decision on the department's EHR modernization," and "work with Congress to get community care reform legislation passed by Memorial Day." Mr. Cashour did not provided any future details about either reforms, nor did he name Cerner as the VA's possible new EHR.

More articles on EHRs:

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Pew: 5 ways EHRs contribute to patient harm — and 2 ways to fix it

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