VA seeks to increase budget for Cerner EHR project by $1B in 2021

The Department of Veterans Affairs is requesting an 82 percent increase for spending in 2021 on its EHR modernization project, according to a Feb. 12 FCW report.

The proposed budget increase would put the project budget line at $2.6 billion, up from a projected spending level of $1.5 billion in 2020, according to the report.

VA is currently under a 10-year contract with Cerner to develop a $16 billion EHR system for its care network. While the EHR was scheduled to deploy at VA's first facility in Spokane, Wash., this month, VA confirmed on Feb. 10 that the go-live will be delayed at least until the end of April. A department spokesperson said VA needs more time to finish building the EHR system.

In its budget justification, VA also proposed speeding up the pace of the Cerner EHR rollouts and moving forward on efforts to install Cerner scheduling software, which was not initially planned as part of the EHR contract, to all medical facilities by the end of 2024.

"Assuming too much risk with reduced funding in the early years of implementation introduces potential additional risk to contract costs in the out-years," the agency said in its budget justification, according to the report.

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