Citizens Against Government Waste Supports VA Plan to Streamline Veterans’ Health Records

For Immediate Release Contact: Curtis Kalin 202-467-5318
June 6, 2017  

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) expressed support for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plan to adopt the same electronic health records platform as the Department of Defense (DOD), thereby streamlining and improving medical care for America’s veterans while saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said in a statement: 

“I applaud Secretary Shulkin’s announcement and hope this action marks the moment where the VA finally turns the corner away from years of mismanagement and scandal.  This step to modernize health information technology at the VA will improve the interoperability of health records with DOD, which has been a problem for many years and drawn criticism from CAGW and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  By adopting the DOD’s platform, veteran care will be delivered more efficiently and require fewer taxpayer dollars to operate.  The new plan will surely need to be monitored closely, but the announcement is a welcome sign that the VA is putting veterans and taxpayers first.”

Background:

In February 2013, the secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs announced they were scrapping their 2011 effort to jointly develop an interoperable electronic health record system after spending nearly $1 billion in development because the program was facing challenges in meeting deadlines, costing too much, and taking too long to deliver capabilities.  GAO blamed the failure of the system on poor planning and management.

On February 27, 2014, GAO called for the VA and DOD to develop a new interoperability plan, and improve collaboration.  In July 2014, GAO released another report indicating that DOD and VA lacked key information needed to inform future funding decisions for the deployment of an interoperable electronic health record.

CAGW is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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