Tester Statement on VA Postponement of Electronic Health Record System Roll-Out
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement today after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it has postponed future deployments of the new Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) Program until June 2023:
“The new EHR simply cannot be deployed before its ready for prime time. When it comes to delivering the quality health care our nation’s veterans have earned, we have to hit the mark the first time around. That’s why I’ll continue holding VA and Oracle Cerner’s feet to the fire in fixing system-wide issues so existing facilities and any future roll-outs guarantee VA health care staff have the tools to provide veterans safe, timely care.”
Tester has long fought to increase the effectiveness and ensure the safety of the new EHR system used by VA health care staff to deliver care to veterans. In July, VA announced a delay of its planned deployment of the new EHR to Boise, Idaho following a push from Tester who urged the Department not to deploy the new system while patient safety, system stability, and other concerns remained unresolved. On the heels of VA’s announcement, the Senator led a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee oversight hearing to evaluate reforms needed to successfully deploy the new EHR. At a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies hearing last month, he called on VA and Oracle Cerner leaders to fix challenges beleaguering the new system before moving forward at other hospitals and clinics.
Earlier this year, President Biden signed Tester’s bipartisan and bicameral VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act into law. This law will increase transparency and oversight of the EHR project by requiring the VA Secretary to submit additional reports to Congress regarding the costs, performance metrics, and patient safety issues related to the new EHR—areas of concern the VA OIG and Congress have repeatedly identified.