The White House fiscal 2015 budget request designates $3.9 billion for the Office of Information and Technology and the Veterans Affairs Department. In nominal terms, that's a $2 billion increased from the estimated current year amount of $3.7 billion.
The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs lack credibility when they say their separate pursuit of electronic health record systems modernization is cheaper than a single EHR would have been, says the Government Accountability Office. A Feb. 27 report from the legislative watchdog also shows how promises of close cooperation in health IT the two departments made during the termination of a program to develop a joint system have been significantly undermined.
The DoD has signaled its intent to buy a commercial EHR to replace its legacy systems since it and the Veterans Affairs Department canceled in February 2013 (citing cost reasons) an effort that would have resulted in a joint EHR running in both military and veterans medical systems.
Veterans Affairs Department information technology appropriations for the current fiscal year are set to reach $3.7 billion, an amount that exceeds the departmental request of $3.68 billion.
The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs face a Dec. 31, 2016 deadline for deploying modernized electronic health record systems following passage of the fiscal 2014 national defense authorization act into law.
Since the Veterans Affairs Department restarted its pharmacy reengineering software development project, or PRE, in 2009 it has missed milestones, lacked appropriate oversight and faces an uncertain future in terms of compatibility with other VA electronic health record plans, finds a Dec. 23, 2013 office of inspector general report (.pdf).
The contract for the enterprise service bus meant to connect the electronic health records of the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs has not been canceled, say military and industry officials, although an industry executive acknowledged that funding for it has been reduced.
The first draft of a request for proposals for the modernized Defense Department electronic health record is set for release in January, the newly-installed head of the DoD Healthcare Management System Modernization Program told an industry audience Nov. 13.
The Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments' interagency program office awarded a 12-month, $11 million contract Oct. 9 to Systems Made Simple--the same company that originally won the iEHR contract in 2012.
Despite the fact that Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall said there's a one-in-five chance the DoD will select a VistA-based technology for its electronic health record, the odds of the department making such a selection are hurt by a 2011 Gartner report (.pdf) commissioned by the VA and obtained by FierceGovernmentIT.