No New VA Patient Schedule System Until 2020 (UPDATED)

A wheelchair sits outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

A wheelchair sits outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center. David Goldman/AP File Photo

VA aims to roll out new software to first 300 users in 2016.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Sept. 30 it plans to field the scheduling system by 2017. See the new story here

The Department of Veterans Affairs will not install a new patient scheduling system to all of its 153 hospitals and 50,000 users until 2020, according to contract documents released last week.

VA views a new patient scheduling system as key to resolving problems that have consigned veterans to a waiting list limbo for months or years.  In July, acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson told the House Veterans Affairs committee the new scheduling system would be deployed in 2016.

The new timeline for the patient scheduling system, released last week, said VA expects to deploy an “Alpha” version to the first 300 users at two hospitals in 2016. That would be followed by a beta version to 700 users at five hospitals in 2017 and installation at all 153 hospitals in 2020.

Last month, VA said it would issue an RFP for the patient scheduling system by the end of this month, with bids due in 30 days.

VA said it intends to buy commercial software, so why, oh, why, will it take six years to field it?