VA contractor Cerner to lay off 150 workers in November — report

Cerner Realization Campus, formerly Marion Laboratories, in Kansas City, MO.

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The company behind the Department of Veterans Affairs’ and Department of Defense‘s Electronic Health Records modernization programs will lay off 150 workers in November, according to a report.

In an email obtained by the Kansas City Star newspaper, Cerner CEO David Feinberg on Thursday acknowledged the upcoming layoffs to staff, saying that the positions would be eliminated early next month.

Cerner is a key contractor working on the Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHR) program at the VA and the Pentagon’s MHS Genesis program. The company’s Millenium cloud-based system forms the cornerstone of the technology modernization projects, which is designed to create systems at the VA and DOD that are interoperable so that service members can keep one health record when they retire into veteran status.

News of the workforce reduction comes shortly after VA Secretary Denis McDonough earlier this month reiterated the department’s commitment to Cerner’s Millennium platform.

In his email to staff, the Cerner CEO said he wanted to clarify the situation following an anonymous blogpost on Reddit that revealed news of the job losses.

The cost of the VA’s health records modernization project has ballooned significantly from $10 billion to $16 billion. Following a string of cost estimate failings, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) earlier this month announced that it would bring in an independent body to review costs.

Prior inspector general reports have warned that the VA’s legacy systems and infrastructure may not be able to handle the load of the cloud system and new health IT interfaces.

A Cerner spokesperson confirmed news of the headcount reduction.

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Denis McDonough, Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), electronic health records (EHRs)
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