House committee introduces oversight bill to monitor VA change to commercial EHR management

Newswire: Nov. 3, 2017.

Dateline: Washington.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving to the same kind of electronic health records management system as the Department of Defense, but Congress still wants to be sure that transition proceeds seamlessly and without impact to veterans receiving care.

The Veterans Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives on Friday introduced legislation to hold the VA accountable for the change to Millennium EHR, a commercial, off-the-shelf system made by Cerner. It’s at the center of one of the largest contracts in VA history.

The bill would direct the VA to provide congress with the contracts, planning and implementation documents for the transition, so that lawmakers can follow its progress and monitor how money is being spent. The bill also requires the VA to notify Congress of major cost increases, delays, and particularly loss of health data or a breach of patient privacy.

The bill follows the VA’s announcement in June that it would be leaving the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, which it had developed decades ago. Cerner’s Millennium EHR is part of the Military Health System that the Department of Defense is implementing for active-duty service members.

In the past, veterans have been unable to carry electronic health records with them as they transition from active duty healthcare to healthcare provided by the VA. The VA’s change is meant to ameliorate that.

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