Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) reintroduced a bill proposing a $50 million dollar prize to create an integrated EHR system between the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA). Roe’s bill would establish a competition for non-governmental, American-based entities to develop an integrated EHR system for use by the DoD and VA to help streamline the coordination of care and benefits claims for those that have served.
The bill would create a temporary panel, chosen by the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to develop criteria for an ideal EHR and will then have 90 days to establish these criteria. The winner of the contract will receive a lump sum of $50 million and the cost of contacting and implementation will be $25 million per year over a period of five years. The DoD and VA have already spent more than $1 billion in their failed efforts to develop this joint EHR system. Both agencies officially announced their plans to abandon the project in February 2014.
Roe’s staff told Politico the following statement:
“The DoD is moving forward with a competition, but they are missing the most important feature of a new EHR system — that it be compatible with the VA system so that service members can have a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life. Why should taxpayers spend $11 billion if they aren’t compatible?” Roe’s staff also added that “until the VA and DoD can adopt a single platform to work from, there will be interoperability problems.”