DHS Health Care IT In Disarray

Dan Verton | FedScoop | July 9, 2014

The Department of Homeland Security last year deployed a multi-million dollar electronic health record system to provide end-to-end health care services for the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants currently held in DHS detention facilities. But a new report by the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences shows the department has largely failed to provide its own employees in high-risk jobs with even the most basic health services and has yet to deploy an electronic system capable of capturing information on employee health, safety and readiness.

The report, “Advancing Workforce Health at the Department of Homeland Security: Protecting Those Who Protect Us,” is the work of a committee of more than a dozen health care experts from the Institute of Medicine. It paints a picture of an agency struggling to develop an enterprisewide health management system capable of collecting and analyzing health data for the 200,000 DHS employees scattered across the country, oftentimes in remote border locations.

“This capability currently does not exist at [the Office of Health Affairs] or anywhere else within the department,” the report states.  Although the report applauds efforts made by individual component agencies within DHS, particularly the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration, it faults the department for failing to create a knowledge management system capable of collecting health information from each of the component agencies that make up DHS and providing senior leaders with the tools necessary to coordinate and monitor health, safety and readiness across the department...