The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking $ 2.6 billion in its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget—$ 1.2 billion more than in FY 2020—to continue implementation of its Cerner electronic health record system.
VA medical centers in the Pacific Northwest have been selected as the initial sites to deploy the new EHR system starting in March. Specifically, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20, in the Pacific Northwest, was selected to deploy and test the new system.
VISN 20 initial sites include Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center (Spokane, Wash.), VA Puget Sound Healthcare System-American Lake and Seattle Divisions, and West Consolidated Patient Accounting Center.
“In addition to funding continued EHR deployment to further sites, the FY 2021 request will accelerate nationwide deployment of the Centralized Scheduling Solution,” according to the VA.
Cerner has been obligated $ 9 million in funding to conduct the Centralized Scheduling Solution deployment activities for the Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Ambulatory Care Center and associated facilities in VISN 10. The effort is funded as an action under Cerner’s existing Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) contract.
In May 2018, the VA awarded a $ 10 billion EHR contract to Cerner. As part of that indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, the agency awards firm-fixed-price task orders to the vendor as requirements are validated. One of those task orders was to conduct Cerner Scheduling Solution site survey activities for the Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Outpatient Clinic and the Ohio Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and both sites’ associated facilities.
According to the VA, it will take a decade to fully implement its new Cerner system, and the program will continue to evolve as technological advances are made. The VA’s approach to the acquisition is to deploy the EHR at initial operating capability (IOC) sites to identify challenges and then correct them.
“The first release of our new EHR is expected to occur roughly 18 months after the start of deployment,” according to the agency. “The team’s work with the IOC sites will help VA identify efficiencies to optimize the schedule, hone governance, refine configurations and standardize processes for future locations.”