Congress funds VA-DOD project despite late request

Congressional lawmakers approved $100 million to fund Veterans Affairs and Defense efforts to jointly develop a digital medical record system—even though the departments missed a deadline for requesting the funding.

The spending allocation was part of the fiscal 2012 omnibus budget bill passed by Congress on Dec. 17 as part of the $3.11 billion for the VA’s Office of Information and Technology. The office’s total spending allotment was $118 million above the fiscal 2011 enacted level, according to a Dec. 16 statement from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In May 2011, the secretaries of the VA and DOD signed an agreement to deploy an Integrated Electronic Health Record rather than separately modernize their respective digital medical record systems.

While it was too late to request funding for the joint project in the VA’s official budget request to Congress, a separate request for the joint system was submitted at a later date, according to a report from the conference committee of House and Senate members negotiating the final omnibus spending package.

Despite the late timing, the House and Senate members declared strong support for the VA-DOD agreement and agreed to fund the entire $100 million requested for fiscal 2012, which included $73 million for development, the report said.

“The conferees are encouraged by this agreement and believe that successful development and implementation is crucial for both departments,” states the conference report for the omnibus bill. “The conference agreement fully funds this request.”

In total, Congress approved $580 million for the VA's IT development projects, which includes the $73 million for the joint VA-DOD medical record system.

Other VA IT development projects funded in fiscal 2012 included $107 million for the Veterans Benefits Management System; $70 million for Veterans Relationship Management; $50 million for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record; and $48 million for health care access programs, such as telehealth, surgical quality and workflow management; and emergency department and systems.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.