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Chairman Roe, Ranking Member Walz Announce Hearing on the First 180 Days of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program

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Washington, November 5, 2018 | Molly Jenkins (202-225-3527) | comments

Washington, D.C.
- Today, Reps. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, respectively, announced an oversight hearing entitled, “180-Day Review of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program.” The Subcommittee on Technology Modernization hearing will be held on November 14th at 10:00 am. More information, including the witness list, will be made available in the coming weeks.

"Over the past 180 days, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program has begun to take shape,” said full committee Chairman Roe. “Intensive planning is underway, and the Committee has identified the risks. As the program enters its critical implementation phase at the initial Washington state sites, the Committee will be vigilant to ensure execution matches expectations. I know from my career in private practice that any electronic health record transition is challenging and this is no exception. It is critical that the implementation of such a system starts from a sound premise, and is done with care and precision. Now is the time to both look back at the groundwork that has been laid and ahead at the hurdles to come. I am committed to conducting rigorous oversight throughout this process in order to ensure that both veterans and taxpayers are protected and that the transition is as seamless as possible."

“Modernizing VA’s electronic health record will be one of the most important and challenging undertakings in the Department’s history,” said full committee Ranking Member Walz. “That’s why it’s imperative for Congress to conduct frequent oversight and hold VA leaders accountable every step of the way. This is an issue that transcends partisan politics, and our shared goal must continue to be ensuring the project’s success so that all veterans receive their care as seamlessly as possible. Unfortunately, a recent investigative report has alleged that systemic deficiencies in leadership and expertise at VA, as well as outside influence, unnecessary politicization, and infighting at the highest levels of the Department, could threaten the entire $16 billion project and put veterans’ lives at risk. Let me be clear, veterans and taxpayers cannot afford to have this project fail and this Committee must get to the bottom of these allegations. If a single veteran is harmed as a result of mismanagement or negligence on the part of VA or Cerner, that is one too many. This hearing is vital to protecting our veterans throughout the modernization process and beyond.”

"I have had the privilege of meeting many of the hardworking medical center staff who will use the new Cerner EHR. Their dedication is evident, and it is vital that the EHR Modernization team retain their confidence by listening to them,” said Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.). “VistA replacement is an unprecedented joint effort between VA’s medical and information technology professionals, which will eventually span the entire country. This sort of collaboration has always been challenging for VA, and managing such a project from thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C. has rarely helped matters.While the scale and complexity are staggering, we must always remain focused on the goal: delivering the improved capabilities that clinicians actually need to provide the highest quality health care to our nation’s veterans. As the subcommittee dives deeper into EHRM’s risks and dependencies, I will never lose sight of this purpose."

“We all need to make it a priority to ensure that VA facilities across the country have a functioning, interoperable health record system so that VA health care providers can give veterans the high-quality care they’ve earned,” said Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.). “Implementing a program of this size and complexity across so many facilities will be challenging, and I look forward to continuing this bipartisan oversight to make sure we get it done and get it done right.”

The following event is open to the press:

WHO:Subcommittee on Technology Modernization

WHAT: “180-Day Review of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program”

WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 14, 2018

WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming here.

Background:During this oversight hearing the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization will review the Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program’s accomplishments throughout its first 180 days, and will look ahead to its planned activities over the next year. The subcommittee will discuss the establishment of workflow councils, the analysis report completed to assess the Defense Health Agency’s Military Health System (MHS) Genesis system as EHRM’s baseline, the current state assessments of the initial implementation sites, implementation planning, the organization of the Office of EHRM and strategic alignment with MHS Genesis.

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