Coast Guard to kick off Cerner EHR

Posted on: Thursday, October 31, 2019 By: KorchekStaff

The U.S. Coast Guard will begin implementing an electronic health record system from Cerner Corp. in the next quarter, the EHR vendor shared on its third-quarter earnings call with investment analysts.

The Coast Guard represents just one of Cerner's government contracts, alongside the vendor's EHR deals with the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments.

The Coast Guard in April 2018 unveiled plans to join the Defense Department in the MHS Genesis project, an IT system the Military Health System will use systemwide. MHS Genesis includes an EHR from Cerner, among other components

The Coast Guard had been using paper records since ending its $14 million EHR implementation with Epic Systems Corp. in 2016.

"Epic fulfilled the terms of the agreement and provided the software and implementation services to meet the Epic obligations of the project," Epic said in a fact sheet detailing its work prior to the contract termination. The company was paid in full for its work with the Coast Guard, according to the website.

Cerner has been ramping up its federal business in recent years. In 2015, it struck a contract with the Defense Department. In May 2018, it finalized its contract with the Veterans Affairs Department. Both of those deployments have already started, with the next sites slated to go live in fall 2020 and spring 2020 for Defense and VA.

The Defense Department's EHR contract was initially awarded to Cerner, Leidos and Accenture at $4.3 billion, but the figure has since grown by more than $1 billion, FCW reported last year. Cerner's contract with the VA was awarded at $10 billion.

Lack of coordination between the agencies has created some snags for the VA's EHR rollout, Cerner executives told lawmakers this summer.

In June, Travis Dalton, Cerner's president of government services, said the Defense Department and VA need a single process for how all decisions related to the co-developed EHR are made between the two agencies. Since then, the Defense Department and VA have proposed a joint office that would have decisionmaking authority over the project.

Cerner this month announced plans to acquire AbleVets, an IT consulting and engineering firm. The cash consideration for the acquisition is expected to total $75 million, Cerner Chief Financial Officer Marc Naughton said on the earnings call Thursday. He said Cerner expects the acquisition to contribute roughly $90 million in revenue in 2020.

Under the agreement, AbleVets would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Cerner.

"We expect their expertise will accelerate Cerner's success in providing integrated, seamless care for veterans, service members and their families," Cerner's executive vice president and chief client officer, John Peterzalek, said on the call, noting AbleVets' experience with cybersecurity and analytics.