VA to reportedly pay $10B for Cerner EHR contract

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Cerner reportedly agreed to an EHR contract in the range of $10 billion, an unnamed VA source told FCW.

The $10 billion figure is significantly less than previously reported estimates. In late October, the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter reported a source familiar with the matter said $18 billion is "consistent with what we're hearing from VA, but until the contract is finalized we aren't 100 percent certain what the cost will be."

VA officials expected to award Cerner a contract for the health system's EHR in November, according to the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter. However, officials cannot sign a contract until Congress agrees to appropriations for the Cerner deal, FCW reports. The unnamed source told FCW VA Secretary David J. Shulkin, MD, met with appropriators in early November to discuss the final details.

The price for the Cerner EHR is lower than expected, in large part because of the VA's plan to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Defense, according to FCW. An unsealed decision by U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby, filed Oct. 18, noted the VA aims to adopt the DOD's EHR system to achieve a "single common EHR system."

The VA's Cerner contract is expected to be implemented in 48 phases, including site visits, user training and onsite support. The VA Secretary's Determination and Findings, as cited in the unsealed decision, noted "having the VA replicate the DOD's existing EHR system will allow the VA to avoid repeating mistakes and capitalize on the DOD's investments."

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