(U.S. Senate) – Chairman Jon Tester of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee today released a statement following a review from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) detailing deficiencies in reporting cost estimates for the deployment of the new Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program:
“This report makes clear the Electronic Health Record Modernization program needs strong oversight by VA and Congress to ensure it delivers reliable support to Department medical staff and the veterans they serve. While Secretary McDonough has taken positive steps to get this program back on track, the Senate needs to confirm a VA Deputy Secretary to help manage this effort, protect taxpayer dollars, and deliver for all veterans. This project is critical to the future of our veterans’ health care, and I look forward to hearing directly from VA next week on their plans to make sure it is implemented correctly.”
VA announced a strategic review of the EHRM program in March, following a bipartisan push from Senate Veterans’ Affairs leaders Chairman Jon Tester and Ranking Member Jerry Moran. Tester will lead a full Committee hearing next Wednesday, July 14, to review VA’s roll-out of the EHRM program and hear directly from Department officials on the outcome of their strategic review.
Last July, Tester led the charge in demanding transparency from the Trump Administration on the roll-out of the EHRM program, specifically calling for accurate cost estimates for the significant upgrades to VA’s physical and information technology infrastructure. In addition he called for measures to better engage VA clinical and support staff in the EHR system implementation. In the letter, the Senator also requested that VA identify clear and measurable metrics to assess impacts of the new EHR system, and make them readily available to the public so that VA, Congress, and other stakeholders can measure the program’s progress. He also worked to include a provision in the VA spending bill requiring the Department to provide a full account of EHR-related infrastructure costs.