Costing 2,233 percent more than originally estimated, the Defense Health Agency’s electronic health record -- designed to be used in combat -- leads a motley pack of major Defense Department automated information systems whose costs have soared by mind-boggling percentages into the billions of dollars, according to government report.
The Theater Medical Information Program - Joint (TMIP-J), Increment 2, was supposed to cost $67.7 million in November 2002 but soared to $1.58 billion as of December 2013, the Government Accountability Office said in the 100 page report.
Program officials attributed the cost increase to the addition of capabilities originally intended to be included in a future increment, new requirements necessary to meet the needs of the warfighter, and the inclusion of operations and maintenance costs, GAO said.
It’s worth noting that the current cost of the field EHR system alone is equal to the $1.5 billion the Pentagon has budgeted for an EHR to serve 57 hospitals, 364 medical clinics, 282 dental clinics, 225 vet clinics as well as deployed forces and 321 ships by 2019.
The Marine Corps version of the Global Combat Support System ranked second on the GAO list, up 302 percent from an original cost estimate of $461.4 million in June 2007 to $1.86 billion in 2013.
The Defense Logistics Agency’s “Defense Agencies Initiative” -- designed to modernize the financial systems of all the defense agencies -- scored third in this list of systems gone awry, with an increase of 159 percent from the program’s initial estimate of approximately $209.2 million in March 2007 to $543.0 million as of December 2013.
The full list from the GAO gives new meaning to the phrase that a billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, equals real money.