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Chairman Bost, Ranking Member Takano introduce House Bill to Comprehensively Address Troubled EHRM Program

This week, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 2809, House companion legislation to Senator Tester’s EHR Program RESET Act of 2023 to begin negotiations between the House and Senate to address longstanding issues with the management and delivery of VA’s ongoing Electronic Health Record Modernization.

Chairman Bost stated, “Earlier this year, I was proud to offer legislation, H.R. 592, the Electronic Health Record Modernization Improvement Act, to begin addressing the serious problems with the Oracle Cerner electronic health record. For too long veterans and VA staff have struggled with this dangerous, error-ridden system. I know my colleagues Ranking Member Takano, Chairman Tester, and Ranking Member Moran share my conviction that the situation is unacceptable, and it is time for Congress to step in. That is why I look forward to beginning bipartisan negotiations on legislation, drawing from all the ideas we have put forward. While I am encouraged that Secretary McDonough has finally recognized the gravity of the situation and begun moving VA in the right direction, Congress has a duty to make sure any solution is comprehensive and bipartisan. I also want to thank Ranking Member Takano for his support of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Improvement Act, which I believe is critical to resolve the system’s impacts on the existing VA facilities and protect additional facilities by listening to the VA healthcare staff on the ground.”

Ranking Member Takano stated, “This bill will provide a framework for fixing the EHRM Program and ensuring that VA fixes problems where the new health records system is in use before any new deployments. The guiding priority for the program should be ensuring veterans are not harmed by the system and that it allows VA clinicians to provide excellent care. I’m pleased to be working with Chairman Bost on introducing this bill in the House and look forward to the House and Senate coming together on a much-needed solution for this troubled-IT program.”

Bill text for H.R. 2809 can be found here.

The bill includes the following provisions:

• Establishes a Program Management Office within VHA and reorganizes management to include the reporting structure for the functional champion and Deputy CIO.
• Restricts monetization or selling of veterans’ data by any internal or external entity conducting work for, with, or on behalf of the VA.
• Creates a requirement that VA must return the current 5 sites to a level determined by OIT and VHA that meets or exceeds performance baselines based on metrics before any new go-lives.
• If VA and Oracle Cerner are not able to meet the requirement for the 5 sites 180 days after enactment of the legislation, directs VA to consider terminating or cancelling the current contract and requires VA to provide an alternative plan for a solution.
• Includes the bill language for H.R. 1659, Department of Veterans Affairs IT Modernization Improvement Act of 2023. requiring VA to contract for Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) for the EHRM, FMBT, Supply Chain, and VBMS modernization programs.
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