VA wants to spend $1.2B more on Cerner EHR deal in 2021, delays implementation

Posted on: Thursday, February 20, 2020 By: KorchekStaff

The Department of Veterans Affairs requested $2.6 billion in its fiscal year 2021 budget — $1.2 billion more than the prior year — to continue implementing Cerner Corp.'s electronic health record system.

The VA is seeking more than $243 billion for its full fiscal year 2021 budget, a 10% increase from 2020, according to a Feb. 10 release from the VA.

The budget news comes the same week the VA pushed back the go-live date for its launch of the North Kansas City-based health care IT company's EHR system.

The VA was scheduled to roll out the new EHR system at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., on March 28. Now, the deployment has been delayed until at least the end of April, according to FCW.

In September, the VA pushed the deployment of Cerner's system at two other VA medical centers from March 2020 until October 2020 and delayed the adoption of Cerner's Millennium Scheduling from 2023 to 2025.

In November, lawmakers encouraged both the VA and Cerner to take the time to get the EHR implementation right and not rush to hit an arbitrary deadline.

Cerner (Nasdaq: CERN) was awarded the initial $10 billion contract for a 10-year implementation of its EHR in May 2018. In November 2018, the full cost of Cerner's EHR grew to $16.1 billion, with $5.8 billion of that allocated to federal staff needed to manage and support the VA's previous EHR platform. The VA's new EHR will be interoperable with the Cerner system used by the Department of Defense.

In July 2018, the DoD increased its budget for the contract with Cerner to $5.5 billion.

In February 2019, Cerner also secured a substantial contract to implement its scheduling software as a separate component of this $16 billion contract with the VA and implement it "on a faster track."