VA sets new go-live date for Cerner EHR, appoints project leader & 8 other recent developments

After delaying its anticipated Cerner EHR go-live, which was scheduled to deploy March 28, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will now launch the EHR system in July, according to a Feb. 27 Fedscoop report. 

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Feb. 27 told lawmakers that VA's goal is to deploy the new system sometime during July at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., the publication reports. Mr. Wilkie also said he will now serve as the highest official on the $16 billion project, replacing former VA deputy secretary James Byrne after his removal from the position last month.

Here is a timeline of Becker's Hospital Review's coverage of the project so far in 2020. Click here to view coverage on developments in the project from 2019.

Jan. 3: VA awards a five-year, $35 million task order to Liberty IT Solutions, which provides technology transformation services to government agencies, to support the VA's EHR modernization program.

Jan. 29: Ahead of the anticipated March 28 EHR go live, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray pens a letter to Richard Stone, MD, executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, to express her concerns with staffing and facility issues at Spokane, Wash.-based Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center.

Feb. 3: Mr. Wilkie fires Mr. Byrne, who oversaw the VA's EHR modernization effort, due to a "loss of confidence in Mr. Byrne's ability to carry out his duties," Mr. Wilkie said.

Feb. 5: During a press conference, Mr. Wilkie says Mr. Byrne's removal "will not impact the EHR modernization project at all," and that he was fired for "not gelling" with other team members.

Feb. 11: VA confirms it will delay the Spokane facility's Cerner EHR launch at least until the end of April because it needs more time to finish building the system. The delay follows last September's, when VA pushed back two of the EHR go-lives, scheduled for Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.-based medical centers until October 2020.

Feb. 12: VA requests an 82 percent increase for spending in 2021 on its EHR modernization project. The proposed increase would put the budget line at $2.6 million, up from a projected spending level of $1.5 billion.

Feb. 13: A Senate committee passes a bill that requires the VA to be more transparent about the status of its multimillion-dollar IT projects. The bill will require VA to ensure its entries and risk data on the federal IT dashboard is up to date.

Feb. 24: The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs' inspectors general announce they will begin a joint audit this month to assess the agencies' progress achieving interoperability between their Cerner-built EHR systems.

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