Chair Lee Announces Hearing Examining Status of VA Electronic Health Record Modernization

February 10, 2020
Press Release
Amid VA delay, Congress must know VA can move forward with multi-billion dollar project

Washington, D.C. - Today, Subcommittee on Technology Modernization Chair Susie Lee (Nev.-03) and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (Calif.-41) issued the following joint statement after being notified by VA Secretary Wilkie of VA’s plans to delay the “go-live” of the Electronic Health Record Modernization at the first site in Spokane, Wash. 

“As chair, I have repeatedly called for VA to be forthright about its progress, identify concerns, and notify Congress about any challenges,” said Chair Susie Lee. “We need to know we can take VA at its word. Secretary Wilkie and I spoke this afternoon and he provided his reasoning behind the delay. While I respect the need to make this tough decision, I want to be sure that we have key action items and schedules to address these issues and roll out the EHRM without harming our veterans. That’s why I’m calling for a Subcommittee hearing to further investigate.”

“VA should take the time it needs to get this $16 billion dollar implementation right, but it needs to be transparent with Congress,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “We are all charged to work on behalf of our nation’s veterans—a short term delay is far better than rushing through a critical EHR transition that will strongly impact veterans’ lives.”

BACKGROUND: Until today, Committee staff were not informed about any major problems despite a call with VA officials on January 17, 2020 and a meeting with Cerner officials on February 6, 2020. VA has told the Committee that the delay is the result of certain community care-related capabilities not being ready at the go-live date.  Staff previously briefed that some functions, including those related to community care would be brought online in fall of 2020, but it was never suggested that it would require a delay in system implementation. Following the leadership change last week, Secretary Wilkie said he did a “deep dive” review of EHR readiness, spoke with Spokane facility leadership, and declared his decision to delay the go-live today.