24 companies join VA’s health record modernization team

Oct. 5, 2018

The vendor responsible for modernizing the Veterans Affairs Department’s electronic health record (EHR) system recruited 24 more companies to assist with the massive overhaul.

Cerner announced it teamed up with a lengthy list of subcontractors as the multi-billion-dollar overhaul of VA’s health record platform gets underway.

“[The VA project] is the largest health IT modernization effort in history and to succeed we knew we needed the most innovative companies in the private sector to join us,” Misti Preston, Cerner’s head of public relations, told Nextgov. “We chose partners to address areas specific to their expertise to supplement our staffing capabilities.”

The newly formed syndicate includes seven “core” partners—Leidos, Guidehouse, Accenture, Henry Schein Inc., AbleVets, MicroHealth, and ProSource360—and 17 additional “premier” partners, many of which are veteran-owned, according to the announcement. Leidos announced it would participate in the contract back in July.

The announcement comes as Cerner moves forward with the 10-year, $10 billion effort to put VA on the same health record system at the Pentagon. The project would ideally enable the two largest federal agencies to “seamlessly” share medical records on some 9 million veterans, but technical troubles and leadership changes have threatened to derail the effort before it gets off the ground.

The Pentagon temporarily halted the platform’s rollout after officials recently declared the system “neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable” after tests at three of its four pilot facilities. Department officials said they’ve since worked out some of the kinks in the system.

VA too faced a setback when both the director and chief medical officer of its EHR modernization office abruptly resigned.

Lawmakers, aiming to prevent the project from meeting the same fate as previous failed overhaul attempts, created a special House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee to keep tabs on the VA’s progress. In its inaugural hearing, witnesses told lawmakers there needs to be increased accountability within both VA and the Pentagon.

Nextgov has the full story

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