May 21, 2018

House Passes Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act, 13 Other Veterans Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R.4245, the Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act of 2017, along with 13 other pieces of bipartisan legislation designed to honor and improve the lives of veterans across the United States. The VA Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act, which is sponsored by Ranking Member Walz, will ensure Congress has the authority and tools it needs to provide effective oversight over the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) $16 billion dollar effort to modernize its electronic health record (EHR) system.

“Whether it’s preventing disruptions in patient care, protecting the veterans’ privacy, or ensuring American taxpayer dollars are invested responsibly and in a way that will improve healthcare delivery for veterans, the VA Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act will ensure Congress has the authority and tools it needs to keep VA’s EHR modernization program on track,” Rep. Walz said.

“Now that VA has finally signed the contract with Cerner to modernize VA’s EHR, this legislation is needed more than ever. I remain deeply concerned about recent reports on the implementation of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) EHR project, Military Health System Genesis, and want to ensure that the same issues do not occur when Cerner implements its EHR at VA hospitals and clinics. Veterans have waited for decades for an EHR that is interoperable with DoD and they deserve a system that works seamlessly.

“I am also concerned by President Trump’s failure to appoint qualified leaders to implement EHR modernization at VA. Most recently, the Trump Administration named Camilo Sandoval, an inexperienced campaign staffer accused of sexual harassment, to serve as VA’s acting Chief Information Officer, the person tasked with carrying out VA’s $16 billion EHR overhaul. Not only does this appointment raise serious concerns with regard to experience, but also data security. These concerns stem from Sandoval’s previous position as Director of Data Operations in 2016 while the Trump campaign was contracting with Cambridge Analytica, a firm which misused the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, including veterans.

“I applaud my colleagues in the House for supporting this commonsense legislation, and urge my colleagues in the Senate to consider this legislation immediately so we can get it signed into law without delay.”

The House passed the following bills:

  1. H.R. 4245 – Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act of 2017 (Rep. Walz)
  2. H.R. 1972 – VA Billing Accountability Act, as amended (Rep. Smucker)
  3. H.R. 3642 – Military SAVE Act, as amended (Rep. Barr)
  4. H.R. 3832 – Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act, as amended (Rep. Dunn)
  5. H.R. 3946 – To name the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in Statesboro, Georgia, the “Ray Hendrix Veterans Clinic” (Rep. Allen)
  6. H.R. 4830 – SIT-REP Act, as amended (Rep. Bilirakis)
  7. H.R. 4958 – Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018 (Rep. Bost)
  8. H.R. 5044 – Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act (Rep. Chabot)
  9. H.R. 5215 – Veterans Affairs Purchase Card Misuse Mitigation Act (Rep. Bergman)
  10. H.R. 5418 – Veterans Affairs Medical-Surgical Purchasing Stabilization Act, as amended (Rep. Bergman)
  11. S. 1282 – A bill to redesignate certain clinics of the Department of Veterans Affairs located in Montana (Sen. Daines)
  12. H.R. 4334 – Improving Oversight of Women Veterans’ Care Act of 2017 (Rep. Correa)
  13. H.R. 3663 – To designate the medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Huntington, West Virginia, as the Hershel ‘‘Woody’’ Williams VA Medical Center (Rep. Jenkins)
  14. H.R. 4451 – Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act of 2018, as amended (Rep. Wenstrup)