Congress offers $65M as down payment on Vista replacement

House Appropriators are budgeting $65 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to launch its plan to acquire a commercial health record, but the funding comes with conditions.

Shutterstock images (by Ingka D. Jiw and Oberon): ballot box, budget/costs concept.
 

House appropriators are budgeting $65 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to launch its plan to acquire a commercial electronic health record system, but the funding comes with conditions.

The Appropriations Committee released the 2018 VA and Military Construction Appropriations bill on June 11, and a markup of the legislation is expected to be held on June 14.

The $65 million, according to a committee release, "will ensure the swift implementation of the plan for the VA to use an identical electronic medical record system as the DOD."

VA Secretary David Shulkin plans to shift the agency from Vista, its homegrown electronic health record system, to  a commercial solution from Cerner to provide interoperability with the Defense Department and with community providers.

There's no timeline yet on the project. Shulkin said he expects to have a plan in place to launch a formal acquisition process within three to six months.

Shulkin is also facing workforce challenges as the procurement goes forward. At a June 14 hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the secretary said that candidates for the CIO and the CFO positions had pulled out of consideration. While he praised the people in the acting roles, he said it was critical to have political appointees in place for key positions.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) wanted assurances from Shulkin that the VA wasn't going to get "taken for a ride" on the sole-source procurement with Cerner.

"We certainly know the price that DOD paid, and we know the price we are currently paying to maintain our systems," Shulkin said. "We're seeking the best way to do this for taxpayers."

In July 2015, the Department of Defense awarded a group including Cerner, Leidos and Accenture a $4.3 billion contract to supply a commercial electronic health record system. The VA health system is much larger, and estimates for a commercial replacement to Vista have ranged as high as $16 billion.

House appropriators are eager for the project to go forward.

"The implementation of an effective electronic health record system that provides integrated service between the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense has been a bipartisan priority and goal for a long time," said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that funds the VA.

The planned funding for the VA does have some conditions. The committee wants detailed explanations of the solicitation to Cerner and information on how the company's electronic health records system would replicate and interact with the MHS Genesis System fielded by the Department of Defense as well as achieve interoperability with community health care systems. Lawmakers also want details on how the transition from Vista to Cerner will work, including cost estimates, training and change management.

VA will have to meet those conditions in order to obligate or spend more than 25 percent of $418 million in planned IT modernization funding.

On the Senate side, Jon Tester (D-Mt.), the ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and also an appropriator, cautioned the secretary not to wait on his request for supplemental funding for the new electronic health record system.

"You need to be asking us to plus that money up," Tester said.

Shulkin has a wish list of his own. He's seeking new authority from Congress to increase the threshold for transferring funds between IT project accounts from $1 million to $3 million. He told senators June 14 that the move would "increase the department's ability to apply agile program management techniques to the dynamics of modern information technology development requirements." Shulkin assured lawmakers in his written testimony that Congress would "maintain visibility of proposed changes," through a certification program.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.