The Department of Veterans Affairs would receive an additional $1.8 billion for its health records modernization under proposals included in the president’s budget for fiscal 2023.
If approved by lawmakers, the extra funding for the IT program would be provided in addition to $5.8 billion allocated to the VA’s Office of Information Technology.
The $5.8 billion figure proposed for the department’s Office of IT is intended to support cybersecurity, financial management business transformation, claims automation and the infrastructure readiness program, according to the White House.
The fresh funding comes as the department grapples with issues that continue to plague the rollout of the electronic health records modernization program, supported largely by health care IT vendor Cerner.
The modernization program has been dogged with delays and concerns, and earlier this month the electronic records system at the VA’s Mann-Grandstaff medical center in Spokane, Washington, and associated clinics were affected by a software bug. Following the outage, the VA and Cerner said they would perform a “full root cause analysis” to determine what went wrong.
The outage followed three reports issued by the VA’s Office of Inspector General that identified major concerns about care coordination, ticketing and medication management associated with the EHR program launch.
Former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene was nominated to take over as VA CIO by President Biden, and was installed in the role late last year.
Earlier in his career, DelBene worked in the Obama administration for a brief time, during which he led improvement work on Healthcare.gov as a senior adviser to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. While working on Healthcare.gov, he helped to troubleshoot issues encountered during the first open enrollment period.