(U.S. Senate) – Last week, President Joe Biden signed into law the VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act—bipartisan legislation championed by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester to increase transparency of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program.
The VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act will hold VA accountable and increase transparency by requiring the VA Secretary to submit periodic reports to Congress regarding the costs, performance metrics, and patient safety issues related to the EHRM—issues the VA Office of Inspector General has repeatedly identified with the deployment of the program.
“It’s clear that VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization program is not working for veterans, VA employees, or taxpayers,” said Chairman Tester. “I’m proud to have worked with Senator Moran and our colleagues to get our bipartisan bill across the finish line, allowing us to increase oversight and transparency on behalf of the VA medical staff using this program, so we can better provide our nation’s veterans the quality care they have earned.”
A long-time advocate of increasing transparency around the EHRM program, the Senator led the charge in demanding transparency from the Trump Administration on the system’s roll-out—specifically calling for program evaluation metrics, strategies to bolster access to care during roll-out, the need for provider engagement and training, and accurate cost estimates for the significant upgrades to VA’s physical and information technology infrastructure needed for the system. To address these and other EHRM challenges, VA Secretary Denis McDonough launched a strategic review under the Biden Administration following a bipartisan, bicameral push by Tester and his colleagues.
At a Committee hearing last July, VA announced an initial set of critical reforms consistent with those championed by Tester to tackle issues with the planning and deployment of the EHRM system. In addition, last December, VA announced a further restructuring of the program’s management to include new senior leadership personnel.
Continuing his push to address long-standing and new issues with the deployment of the system, Tester will lead a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee oversight hearing on the EHRM program on July 20.