VA's Cerner transition budget exceeds $16B

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The Veterans Affairs Department tacked $350 million on to its contract estimate for a new Cerner EHR, sending the total cost of its 10-year modernization project upwards of $16.1 billion, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

The VA awarded Cerner an initial $10 billion contract in May. However, the VA reportedly failed to budget for government employees needed on the project, which caused the costs to increase, according to the Journal.  

During a recent House oversight subcommittee hearing, Congress expressed concern over the mounting costs of the project, along with questioning the whether the EHR will be interoperable interoperability between the Defense Department and community providers. Cerner has said it can ultimately facilitate these exchanges if the VA and DOD are on the same system.

"I do know community interoperability is a very real problem, and for $16 billion, VA had better solve it. It all means nothing if VA and Cerner do not follow through," said Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., chairman of the subcommittee, according to the Journal. "I am not ready to sound the alarm yet, but ... I have expressed my concern about what seems to be a loss of focus on innovation."  

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