Congress & GAO Take Aim At DOD-VA Health Records Program

Amber Corrin and Camille Tuutti | FCW | March 7, 2013

When the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments last month announced a change of course in a long-awaited joint health records program, it sparked concerns at the Government Accountability Office. Now, the program faces further challenges from Capitol Hill.

Officials from the DOD-VA Interagency Program Office (IPO), which oversees the integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR) and Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) programs, insist they are still on track for a joint records-sharing platform. But the strategy for getting there has changed, now focusing on existing capabilities to improve interoperability.

Testifying before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs recently, outgoing VA CIO Roger Baker addressed VA’s efforts to develop the iEHR with DOD and denied that the agencies were abandoning the anticipated joint health records system. "First, we would like to dispel any notion that VA and DOD are moving away from a single, joint, electronic health record," Baker said Feb. 27. He noted that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had each reaffirmed that commitment in their public statements on Feb. 5. "What has changed is the strategy that we will use to accomplish that goal," Baker said...