House Committee Slashes Defense Funding for Electronic Health Records, Satellite Systems

Bob Brewin | NextGov | May 4, 2011

Two House Armed Services Committee panels on Tuesday sharply reduced budgets for the next-generation electronic health record system and key Defense Department communications systems pending receipt of reports requested by the panels.

The Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, in its markup of the 2012 National Defense Authorization bill, also directed Defense Chief Information Officer Teresa Takai to develop policies for the use of smartphone applications on military networks.

The Military Personnel Subcommittee in its markup put a potential speed bump in the way of development of a next-generation electronic health record system. It fenced off all but 10 percent of the requested budget until 30 days after Defense delivers a report that details a transition plans to a new system "that is cost-effective and interoperable." This language still needs approval by the full House and Senate.

The subcommittee also wants Defense to detail the process for selecting investments in information technology that support the next-generation system. Defense and the Veterans Affairs Department agreed in March to jointly develop a new electronic health record systems. An internal memo said the two departments will make the purchase of commercial software their first choice for development of a new system.