The Department of Veterans Affairs expanded telehealth appointments by 1000% during the coronavirus pandemic. Both VA and Congress seem to agree: telehealth is here to stay, but it’s unclear just how pervasive those capabilities will be as the department evolves past the current health crisis.
The Department of Veterans Affairs was on track to roll out an initial set of electronic health record capabilities at its first site in Spokane, Washington, in July. But the coronavirus pandemic has paused those plans indefinitely.
Members on the House Veterans Affairs Committee say they plan to double down on their oversight of VA’s electronic health record modernization amid a recent decision to delay the initial rollout.
Congress is worried a 10-year, $2.5 billion financial management business transformation initiative is getting lost in the shuffle at the Department of Veterans Affairs, as several other IT initiatives consume the agency’s time and resources.
The Department of Veterans Affairs set of deadline of March, 28, 2020 to deploy a first “block” of Cerner electronic health record capabilities at its first “go-live” site in Spokane, Washington. VA said it’s confident it’ll have a smooth roll-out, and Congress said it’s “cautiously optimistic.”
Lawmakers say they fear cybersecurity mitigation efforts are taking a backseat to the mounting pile of IT modernization initiatives ongoing at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Lawmakers are concerned the Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t do its due diligence in making the decision to adopt a new scheduling system from Cerner, the same contractor both the VA and Pentagon are using to overhaul their electronic health records.
Veterans Affairs says it will spend nearly $5 billion over next 10 years to maintain legacy electronic health record while implementing a separate, multi-billion-dollar system at facilities.
Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) program office will be a single point of accountability for EHR modernization, the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs said. But lawmakers are skeptical.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is confident it’s ready to implement a major piece of the VA MISSION Act by the June 6 deadline. But another part of the new law isn’t close to being ready, and there’s a familiar culprit behind the delays.