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VA creates new Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs established a new Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, which will be led by Genevieve Morris, Department of Health and Human Services principal deputy national coordinator.

Morris and the OEHRM will work closely with the agency’s Under Secretary of Health and CIO to manage the massive transition from the legacy proprietary VistA EHR to Cerner.

OEHRM is focused exclusively focused on the EHR modernization project that officials estimate will be fully functional in the Pacific Northwest by 2020. The $16 billion project is designed to give the VA the same Cerner EHR platform currently being deployed at the Department of Defense.

“We are working hard to configure and design a system focused on quality, safety and patient outcomes, which will allow health IT innovations within one VA facility to be used across the entire VA healthcare system,” said Morris in a statement.

During a VA House Committee meeting in June, Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke called Morris a “perfectly qualified” candidate for the project. 

On Thursday, the VA House Committee on Veterans Affairs launched an oversight committee of its own, to ensure veterans and taxpayers are protected throughout the transition. Congress has been increasingly concerned about the cost and the ability to pull off such a large undertaking, given the struggles of the DoD Cerner project and past failures to work together.

The VA is still awaiting permanent leadership, after the departure of David Shulkin, MD in March. DoD’s Robert Wilkie’s full confirmation vote is set for the end of summer and is expected to be confirmed.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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