House Adopts Three Amendments Introduced and Supported by Rep. Susie Lee to Improve Veteran Health Care at VA and DOD

July 12, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, the House adopted three amendments introduced and supported by Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), all of which will improve veteran health care by ensuring that Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) Interagency Program Office implement an effective Electronic Health Records (EHR) system, so our veterans can get the health care they deserve. 

Rep. Lee released the following statement:

“We have an obligation to ensure that our veterans who have put their lives on the line for our country are given proper care quickly and can access the benefits they earned. If we’re going to fulfill that duty, then veterans transitioning from service to civilian life should be confident that their health records will transition seamlessly with them. Three amendments that were adopted by the House today will hold the VA and DOD accountable for effectively and efficiently implementing the Electronic Health Records program, by giving them the guidance and structure that they’ve been lacking.” 

Rep. Susie Lee’s introduced and supported amendments adopted by the House in relation to Electronic Health Records Implementation:

Amendment #477: Clarifying the authority and purpose of the DoD-VA Interagency Program Office

  • This amendment will hold the VA and DOD accountable by clarifying that the Interagency Program Office has the ultimate authority to manage the Electronic Health Records rollout process.

Amendment #476: Setting specific milestones for the Interagency Program Office

  • This amendment will set the following milestones for IPO’s Electronic Health Records implementation:

    • Within 18 months - DoD and VA can access and meaningfully interact with the patient records for veterans and active duty military receiving healthcare in the community

    • Within 24 months - Community providers for VA and TRICARE can access patient records for veteran and active duty patients.
  •  The Interagency Program Office must report to Congress on each milestone

Amendment #115: Developing an effective strategy to ensure seamless care for servicemembers and veterans. 

  • Requires that the Interagency Program Office develop a strategy within 180 days of enactment to guide the delivery of seamless health care in DOD, VA, and the community by creating an environment that encourages innovative, efficient, effective use of health care technology practices.

Currently, the VA and DOD have been jointly working on a plan to work together to modernize a joint health records system, but the plan has been slow and does not appear to address many of the longstanding problems with accountability, leadership, resources, and mission direction that have plagued the Interagency Program Office (IPO).  These amendments would clarify and enhance the role of the new VA and DOD Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) joint program office responsible for EHR implementation.The specific milestones that these amendments create will ensure accountability and provide greater assurance that clinical and patient needs of our veterans guide the EHR implementation.