Bulk Of Wasted DOD, VA iEHR Money Went To Support Contracts

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | November 25, 2013

Think Epic implementation is a costly prospect?  How about spending $1.1 billion on a joint Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs EHR that never even got off the ground?  New reports from the Interagency Program Office (IPO), now in charge of the convoluted effort to modernize the Military Health System’s electronic record keeping software, show that the majority of the spending in 2011 and 2012 went to secure service support contracts for employees.  While the project made progress in establishing a framework for interoperability and outlining the technical challenges of a joint EHR, questions remain about just how the office spent a large chunk of its budget.

In 2012, the IPO spent a total of $351.9 million, apportioning $329.2 million of that money for support services, intended to help fill the 236 staff vacancies in the office.  By the end of the year, 141 of the open positions were filled with federal civilian employees for DOD and VA employees assigned to the project, while the remaining spots were taken by contractors.  The interagency office only spent $19 million on securing government staff during the same time.