What’s going on at the VA? 48 Oracle Cerner implementation updates from this year

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tapped Cerner to overhaul its EHR system. Recently, a series of slowdowns, legislative spats and open letters have again turned attention to the VA's EHR overhaul process.

A rundown of VA Oracle Cerner news:


  1. On Jan. 13, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton was cleared to resume work as the program manager on the Oracle Cerner VA installation task order.

  2. On Jan. 25, multiple VA facilities across the U.S. experienced an EHR slowdown as part of an update.

  3. On Jan. 30, Don Johnson, the former head of Oracle Health engineering, left the company.

  4. On Jan. 30, Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale was appointed as chair of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization.

  5. On Jan. 31, Mr. Rosendale introduced legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost, that would scrap the Oracle Cerner EHR program. 

  6. On Feb. 3, it was reported that House Democrats were working on their own VA IT overhaul that would not scrap Oracle Cerner.

  7. On Feb. 3, Oracle Executive Vice President Ken Glueck penned an open letter urging lawmakers not to abandon the Cerner EHR.

  8. On Feb. 7, California Rep. Mark Takano pushed back on Mr. Rosendale's proposed legislation.

  9. On Feb. 7, Mr. Bost said he was open "to any idea that holds VA and Oracle Cerner accountable, but the time for half-measures and tinkering around the edges is over."

  10. On Feb. 10, Terry Adirim, MD, the head of the VA's EHR modernization program, announced he would be stepping down.

  11. On Feb. 14, Oracle Cerner and Accenture partnered on VA EHR training. 

  12. On Feb. 16, the VA delayed the rollout of the Oracle Cerner EHR at its VA Ann Arbor (Mich.) location until late 2023 or early 2024.

  13. On Feb. 22, a VA official said that the agency might need to further delay the Oracle Cerner rollout due to academic affiliations and research functionality. 

  14. On March 1, VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy stepped down. 

  15. On March 2, California Rep. Mark Takano said the Oracle Cerner rollout "continues to burn money."

  16. On March 7, VA officials told House VA Committee members they might need to rely on its legacy EHR system for five more years.

  17. On March 9, President Joe Biden earmarked $1.9 billion for the Oracle Cerner rollout in his 2024 budget.

  18. On March 10, the VA announced it would restructure its approach and develop a dashboard to determine whether a clinic was ready for an Oracle Cerner go-live.

  19. On March 13, Mr. Rosendale called for Oracle Cerner to pay back the VA.

  20. On March 15, four patient deaths were linked to the Oracle Cerner EHR.

  21. On March 16, the VA looked to negotiate a five-year option period for its contract with Oracle Cerner.

  22. On March 22, the VA said it updated the Oracle Cerner EHR and fixed some usability issues. 

  23. On March 22, the VA moved to put its legacy EHR system on the cloud.

  24. On March 22, House Democrats introduced a pair of IT bills related to the VA. One of the bills would require an audit of the Oracle Cerner installation. 

  25. On March 27, Mr. Bost said that if lawmakers didn't provide more oversight of the EHR program, then the program would be terminated. 

  26. On March 29, three Democratic senators introduced legislation to increase oversight of the Oracle Cerner implementation process.

  27. On April 3, a group of Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would prohibit the VA from continuing with the EHR modernization program until certain requirements are met.

  28. The VA delayed the Oracle Cerner rollout at its Saginaw (Mich.) Hospital.

  29. On April 14, the VA paused the Oracle Cerner EHR system rollout to renegotiate with Oracle.

  30. On April 17, the EHR system experienced a five-hour outage.

  31. On April 21, VA officials stopped all work on the EHR system.

  32. Some members of Congress praised the VA for pausing the rollout of the EHR system.

  33. On April 26, a group of House lawmakers introduced legislation that would give Oracle Cerner 180 days to fix the EHR system at five facilities. 
  34. On April 25, the VA experienced another outage, just days after a different five-hour outage.

  35. On April 27, Denis McDonough, VA secretary, suggested that the VA could lose $400 million from its budget for its Cerner EHR project.

  36.  On May 1, the VA revealed that spending on the Cerner contract has increased 300 percent since 2018.

  37. A group of veterans are continuing a protest against the Cerner EHR at Spokane, Wash.-based Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Medical Center.

  38. A group of Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Medical Center pharmacists testified that the Cerner EHR increases their manual workload.

  39. On May 15, VA Roseburg (Ore.) Health Care System reset its Cerner EHR system.

  40.  On May 17, the VA negotiated its contract with Cerner. Under the new contract, Cerner will have to pay large fines for not meeting agreement requirements.

  41. On May 18, a report from the Government Accountability Office found that the VA has not established goals to assess user satisfaction with the Cerner EHR.

  42.  On May 22, Spokane, Wash.-based Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center announced it would eliminate 146 full-time roles due to the deficit caused by the Cerner rollout. 

  43.  On May 25, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said that the Cerner EHR installation would not result in job cuts at Mann-Grandstaff. 

  44.  On June 8, Mann-Granstaff officials said they would not cut staff due to the Cerner installation.

  45.  On June 15, Oracle cut hundreds of Cerner jobs. The job cuts were reportedly tied to the VA rollout.

  46.  On June 22, the VA announced that it expected the installation to continue, despite the layoffs at Cerner.

  47. On June 27, the VA pledged to increase funding for Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center to help avoid layoffs.

  48.  On July 14, the VA pushed back against proposed legislation that would require it to report codified improvement metrics for any new Cerner deployments.

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