WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and all Republican members of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs introduced legislation that would prevent the continued implementation of the Oracle Cerner electronic health record (EHR) system at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities until significant improvements are made to the system.
“An electronic health record, and particularly a veteran’s electronic record, should make patients safer and improve the care,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Veterans seeking help at VA medical centers should receive nothing but exemplary care,” said Senator Moran. “Testimonies from VA staff and veterans as well as numerous troubling IG reports have made it clear that the EHR system is putting veteran patients at risk and creating significant challenges for VA staff. I support Secretary McDonough’s decision to delay the rollout of the EHR system, and this legislation will create a list of requirements VA, in collaboration with its vendor Oracle Cerner, must meet before implementation of the system can resume. Without these changes, it would be irresponsible to continue implementing the system at additional VA centers.”
Cassidy and Moran were joined by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Braun (R-IN) and Steve Daines (R-MT) in introducing this legislation.
The EHR system was implemented at five medical centers since 2020 and has been a factor in the loss of veterans’ lives as well as decreased productivity and employee morale. Additionally, the system has faced system outages, put nearly 150 patients at risk and more than doubled in cost. After the VA Inspector General (IG) released a report in July outlining major concerns with the new system, VA paused further implementation of the EHR system. That pause was later extended until June of 2023.
The Department of Veterans Affairs EHRM Standardization and Accountability Act would establish a rigorous list of requirements that VA must meet before the EHR system can be implemented at more VA medical centers.
The centers currently utilizing the EHR system are located in Spokane, WA; Walla Walla, WA; Columbus, OH; White City, OR; and Roseburg, OR.