VA secretary to Congress: Make full EHR rollout funding available despite pause

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The Department of Veterans Affairs wants its full 2022 budget for its Cerner EHR rollout even though it has money left over from an eight-month deployment pause, Federal Computer Week reported Oct. 21.

Four details:

  1. The Cerner EHR rollout paused in April until the end of 2021 because of concerns that inadequate training was harming patient care

  2. Donald Remy, deputy secretary of the VA, testified at a hearing Oct. 21 before the House Appropriations Committee that the department is still seeking $2.66 billion for the EHR deployment for fiscal year 2022. The VA requested the funds even though there is money left over from the year 2021 and the appropriations were to last three fiscal years.

  3. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the subcommittee that provides funding for the VA, said she was concerned about fulfilling the request.

    "Obviously asking for more money when you aren't able to spend the money you have and you have a three-year window to do so would not be helpful," she told Mr. Remy at the hearing.

  4. The committee is also seeking clarity on cost estimates. Congress introduced the VA EHR Transparency Act of 2021, which would require the agency to deliver cost reporting to Congress every 90 days. A statement from the VA presented to a subcommittee Oct. 7 said the agency supports the measure but wants flexibility on reporting times and clarification on other reporting requirements.

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