Health IT

DOD adds $1.1 billion to health record contract

health data (bixstock/ 

The Department of Defense is adding $1.1 billion in ceiling value to its existing $4.3 billion electronic health record contract with integrator Leidos to cover interoperability with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Coast Guard.

According to a contracting document released July 24, the move is necessary to fully integrate the DOD's MHS Genesis system with the system being acquired by the VA. The extra funding also takes into account plans by the Coast Guard to join MHS Genesis.

Both MHS Genesis and the VA's system are based on the Cerner software. VA signed a $10 billion sole-source contact in May with Cerner, which was justified on the basis of providing guaranteed interoperability with the DOD system.

"The adoption by the three agencies of the same [electronic health record] creates a unique opportunity to standardize the enterprise baseline" to maximize sharing and continuity, the contracting document states. Benefits described include smooth transition from active service to veteran status and more effective evaluation of disability claims. The new baseline will also support a single common dataset to provide researchers and health officials access to long-term health data on millions of service members, retirees and veterans.

The new funds are needed to pay for technical services and infrastructure to support a "common baseline" between MHS Genesis and the VA's coming Cerner system, which will replace the agency's homegrown Vista system. As part of this common baseline, the DOD will need to adopt new capabilities that were not available at the time of the MHS Genesis acquisition. Those requirements that VA is acquiring that are not in the DOD contact are redacted in contracting document.

The document also reveals that DOD had heard from health record firm Allscripts and integrator CACI, who were interested in working on the common baseline and objected to plans to add funds to the Leidos contract. However, in May Cerner declined a request by DOD contracting officers to make its intellectual property available to third parties to support competition from integrators other than Leidos.

The document affirms that DOD will consider recompeting some portions of the contract after full implementation of the MHS Genesis system. Full deployment is set to be completed in 2022, although the VA doesn't expect to phase out Vista until 2028.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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