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Difficulties With Electronic Health Records System Reported to Congress

The new legislation will require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report the failures and risks to patient safety caused by the electronic health records system to Congress. The new electronic health record system aims to connect the Defense Department (DOD) and the Coast Guard to VA medical centers and clinics. The program gives providers more information on a veteran’s medical history. It allows veterans to transition from active duty to veteran status easily. 

At the end of May 2022, the Senate approved a bill that requires the VA to submit quarterly reports to Congress on the progress and costs of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program (EHRM). Doubts about the program’s success can be traced back to March 2022. Lawmakers forced a VA hospital in Spokane, Washington, to postpone patient admissions and appointments after the records system crashed and cost the agency $16.1 billion. Senator Jerry Moran, a Senate leader in the passage of the bill, promised that the legislation would “ensure veterans receive the care they deserve and hold the VA accountable for taxpayer dollars.”

In February 2020, President Trump proposed a plan to increase the VA’s budget. This plan would give the entire VA agency a budget of $243 billion to spend on various programs and departments. The bill would increase the EHRM’s funding. Between February 2020 and 2022, DOD inspectors incorporated the new technology into 49 DOD facilities and one VA facility — the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington.

The goal of the electronic system was to connect the VA and DOD; however, inspector generals found that the two departments took different actions when moving patient information, developing hardware interactions, and connecting users to the software. Congress members criticized the VA implementations of the system, claiming that there were medical and personal errors that did not uphold the program’s ideals.

The Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization Program’s officers had to develop a strategy that allowed the seamless transition of data from the VA, DOD, and other external; health care providers. The individuals did formulate a plan to help the program be successful; however, they did not manage the activities of the system or the VA and DOD. Consequently, the two agencies took separate and inconclusive actions. 

The system has failed to connect patients with the immediate care they need on multiple occasions to date. Technological shortcomings and poor planning are among two of the effects of the program. The VA officials have vowed to work alongside lawmakers to analyze system concerns and effectively provide individuals with the help they need. 

Our New York disability lawyers are here to assist with any questions regarding veterans’ disability benefits and the EHRM program. Call us at 855-208-7783 or complete an online intake form

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