April 20, 2023

Ranking Member Takano and Chairman Bost Introduce House Bill to Comprehensively Address Troubled EHRM Program

Press Contact

For Immediate Release   
April 20, 2023

Miguel R. Salazar (Takano)
Kathleen McCarthy (Bost) 
Elizabeth Carlson (Schrier)
Jonathan Levin (Cherfilus-McCormick)
Michaela Johnson (Dingell)
Alexa Helwig (Landsman)
Henry Novak (Lee) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, House Committee on Veterans Affairs’ Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-CA) and Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL) introduced a House companion to Senator Tester’s EHR Program RESET Act of 2023 to begin negotiations between the House and Senate to address longstanding issues with the management and delivery of VA’s ongoing Electronic Health Record Modernization. 

Ranking Member Mark Takano stated, “This bill will provide a framework for fixing the EHRM Program and ensuring that VA fixes problems where the new health records system is in use before any new deployments. The guiding priority for the program should be ensuring veterans are not harmed by the system and that it allows VA clinicians to provide excellent care. I’m pleased to be working with Chairman Bost on introducing this bill in the House and look forward to the House and Senate coming together on a much-needed solution for this troubled-IT program.”

Chairman Mike Bost added, “Earlier this year, I was proud to offer legislation, H.R. 592, the Electronic Health Record Modernization Improvement Act, to begin addressing the serious problems with the Oracle Cerner electronic health record. For too long veterans and VA staff have struggled with this dangerous, error-ridden system. I know my colleagues Ranking Member Takano, Chairman Tester, and Ranking Member Moran share my conviction that the situation is unacceptable, and it is time for Congress to step in. That is why I look forward to beginning bipartisan negotiations on legislation, drawing from all the ideas we have put forward. While I am encouraged that Secretary McDonough has finally recognized the gravity of the situation and begun moving VA in the right direction, Congress has a duty to make sure any solution is comprehensive and bipartisan. I also want to thank Ranking Member Takano for his support of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Improvement Act, which I believe is critical to resolve the system’s impacts on the existing VA facilities and protect additional facilities by listening to the VA healthcare staff on the ground.” 

Additional quotes from original cosponsors: 

Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA), added, “I am glad to be working on this bipartisan bill with Ranking Member Takano and Chairman Bost to make sure Veterans in the 8th District and across the country can get the care they deserve. I am concerned about the electronic health record rollout issues at the VA, the impact on the health care veterans receive, and the stress it is putting on veterans and the staff delivering care. This legislation provides the VA some teeth to ensure the rollout goes well and holds companies and our agencies accountable.”

“Veterans know better than anyone else that the EHRM program is in need of a serious revamp,” said Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization. “By increasing oversight of VA’s new electronic health record system, we can unlock high-quality care for patients and equip VA medical personnel with the IT tools they need to prioritize our veterans. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to enhance this program and streamline the delivery of VA services. Those who served our nation deserve nothing less.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) added, “Access to veteran health records is critical for ensuring our nation’s heroes receive the care they need. The EHRM program was initially launched to streamline health record sharing between health care providers, but we must fix troubling hiccups in the program before allowing new deployments. I am grateful to Chairman Bost and Ranking Member Takano for leading this bipartisan bill that will implement much-needed changes to improve the management and monitoring of the EHRM program to ensure health care providers can deliver the highest quality of care to veterans across the country.”

Rep. Greg Landsman (D-OH) who serves on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Subcommittee on Technology Modernization stated, “Our veterans are owed the highest level of care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The bipartisan, bicameral EHR Program RESET Act would ensure that we are modernizing our nation’s electronic health records system for the men and women from Ohio and across the country who have dutifully served our nation.”

“Our veterans deserve unobstructed access to quality health care,” said Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-NV). “I’ve been following the extensive challenges facing the VA’s electronic modernization efforts since my very first days in Congress when I served as Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization. I’m proud to join Ranking Member Takano and Chairman Bost in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral bill to increase oversight and accountability for the EHRM program and ensure our veterans are getting high-quality care.”

The bill includes the following provisions:
  • Establishes a Program Management Office within VHA and reorganizes management to include the reporting structure for the functional champion and Deputy CIO.
  • Restricts monetization or selling of veterans’ data by any internal or external entity conducting work for, with, or on behalf of the VA.
  • Creates a requirement that VA must return the current 5 sites to a level determined by OIT and VHA that meets or exceeds performance baselines based on metrics before any new go-lives.
  • If VA and Oracle Cerner are not able to meet the requirement for the 5 sites 180 days after enactment, the legislation directs VA to consider terminating or canceling the current contract and requires VA to provide an alternative plan for a solution.   
  • Includes the bill language for H.R. 1659, Department of Veterans Affairs IT Modernization Improvement Act of 2023. requiring VA to contract for Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) for the EHRM, FMBT, Supply Chain, and VBMS modernization programs.