VA Dems Demand Answers on Electronic Health Records Delay

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A $16 billion contract to modernize health records has been in limbo during turmoil at the agency.

Two top Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee want an investigation into what’s delaying a $16 billion electronic health records system that’s supposed to be compatible with the Defense Department’s system.

The request comes after Politico’s eHealth team reported a Florida doctor who knows President Donald Trump from his Mar-a-Lago resort was participating in calls about the VA project and delaying its rollout.

The doctor, Bruce Moskowitz, disliked the software VA picked for the project based on his own experience with it, Politico reported.

Reps. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., ranking member on the VA Committee’s health panel, and Annie Kuster, D-N.H., ranking member on the investigations panel, are asking VA’s acting secretary and inspector general to investigate those allegations, according to a letter sent Wednesday.

The VA was near finalizing a contract for the software, supplied by the tech firm Cerner, when Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin in March. The contract has been in limbo since then.

The department plans to proceed with the contract, despite having no secretary or nominee, VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said late last month. Trump’s nominee to replace Shulkin, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, withdrew in April following allegations of drinking on the job and other foibles.

“A new electronic health record system—that better connects with DOD health records—is imperative for improving care for our country’s veterans,” Brownley said in a statement. “Any delay in implementation is simply unacceptable, especially one that has been caused by inappropriate interference by personal friends of the President.”