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Wed Jul 31, 2019, 04:22 AM

VA failed to reliably track spending on electronic health record system

https://www.militarytimes.com/veterans/2019/07/30/va-failed-to-reliably-track-spending-on-electronic-health-record-system/

VA failed to reliably track spending on electronic health record system

By: Kimberly Jin, Medill News Service    11 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veteran Affairs says it spent $2.3 billion on its electronic health record system from fiscal 2015 through 2017, but the Government Accountability Office said it found only $1 billion of the spending to be “sufficiently reliable.”

According to a new report by the Congress’ watchdog agency, the VA didn’t follow “a well-documented methodology” to determine what costs were actually related to the system, called VistA.

“VA’s total does not accurately reflect the development and sustainment costs for VistA,” the GAO report wrote. It warned that VA’s failure to keep track of its spending on VistA means “the department, legislators and the public do not have the comprehensive, reliable information needed to understand how much it actually cost to develop and maintain the system.”

The GAO concluded that records for $1.3 billion that the VA spent on VistA’s infrastructure, its related software and personnel were either not accurate, not well-documented, not credible or not comprehensive. It also pointed out that VA omitted VistA-related costs on additional hosting, and data standardization and testing from the total.

The 36-year-old VistA — formally known as the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture — contains electronic health records for patients, support clinics and medical centers, and also has other functions such as library and billing systems. The VA relies on it to provide health care services to approximately 9 million veterans and their families.

Carol Harris, director of information technology acquisition management at GAO, said in a Thursday hearing that VA’s actual spending on VistA “is likely to be more than the $2.3 billion.”

For example, the VA told GAO investigators last June that the cost on additional hosting was about $238 million per year. But shortly after that, the agency said the cost was actually $950 million. In the end, VA reported zero dollars for additional hosting.

Harris said the VA’s subject matter expert agreed that $950 million was “off-base.” But “the fact that the additional hosting line item was not included in the $2.3 billion estimate suggests that the number is higher,” she said.
(snip)

VA’s loose cost-tracking record on VistA also casts doubt on its 10-year, $10 billion migration to the commercial electronic health record system Cerner and its estimate on the cost.

Tibbits told lawmakers that the VA estimates the minimum cost to sustain VistA over the transition period is $4.98 billion, which takes up almost half of its $10 billion budget cap for the whole process announced in May 2018.
(snip)

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Reply VA failed to reliably track spending on electronic health record system (Original post)
nitpicker Jul 2019 OP
nitpicker Jul 2019 #1
Everyman Jackal Aug 2019 #2

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Wed Jul 31, 2019, 04:22 AM

1. Link to the GAO report

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Sat Aug 3, 2019, 07:14 AM

2. I don't know if this applies to Healthevet

 

but this morning I signed on as I do every morning. It is a good thing that I keep a calendar on my computer of my appointments because my Monday appointment is not listed nor any for the next 2 months. Then I went to Blue Button to see if my last visit last Tuesday was in VA Notes and that whole section came up on PDF.

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