VA secretary: Cerner EHR troubles won't mean staff, funding cuts at Washington hospital

Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, said he will further investigate claims that Spokane, Wash.-based Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center would have to cut staff due to a projected $35 million budget deficit caused largely by its Cerner EHR system, The Spokesman-Review reported May 24. 

Mr. McDonough said the hospital's troubled Cerner EHR system would not result in staff or service cuts. But this claim contradicts Mann-Grandstaff Director Robert Fischer, MD, who sent an email to staff May 9 stating that the hospital needed to reduce its staff by more than 15 percent due to the budget deficit. 

Dr. Fischer said the Cerner EHR system has "reduced the number of veterans each clinician can see," which resulted in a lower allocation of funds to the hospital.

Dr. Fischer said because of the budget deficit, the hospital's "target" staffing level of 1,508 full-time employees would be reduced to 1,278. 

Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center is one of five VA medical centers to go live with the Cerner EHR system. Rollouts at additional facilities are on hold until Mann-Grandstaff and the other facilities currently using the EHR can get their systems performing at a highly functional level.

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