Tester Statement on VA Plan to Overhaul Veterans Medical Records

Ranking Member: “The VA has No Room for Error”

(U.S. Senate) – Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester today released the following statement after the VA announced its plan to transition its Electronic Health Record system to the same contractor as the Defense Department:

“This is the largest electronic health record transformation in the history of American medicine, and the VA has no room for error. I will hold the VA accountable to make sure that they get this right. The VA must make sure it has the staff to manage this project and immediately get qualified nominees to oversee it. And Congress must pass my bill to make sure the VA is thorough and transparent throughout this transition.”

The VA does not currently have a permanent Chief Information Officer in place to oversee the VA’s Office of Information and Technology and a permanent Under Secretary for Health to manage the Veterans Health Administration. Both offices are critical to managing the electronic health records transition.

Tester’s Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act ensures the VA is transparent in its plan to roll out a new commercial electronic health record system for nine million veterans. It requires the VA to provide a detailed plan about how it will ensure every veteran’s medical records are available electronically and can be transferred between the VA, the Department of Defense’s medical facilities, and community providers.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee recently passed Tester’s bill. It now awaits consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives.