- Cerner’s MHS Genesis electronic health record has gone live at Naval Hospital Oak Harbor near Seattle, marking the first deployment of the system’s inpatient components.
- Monday’s announcement dovetailed with Senate Appropriations Committee approval of the fiscal 2018 Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. The measure, passed unanimously, bumps up last year’s VA funding by $4 billion to $78.4 billion, but doesn't include additional spending for the VA’s transition to Cerner’s EHR, Becker’s’ Health IT & CIO Review reports.
- Meanwhile, Cerner has hired David Waltman to assist with the VA’s technology overhaul, according to Healthcare IT News. A former chief information strategy officer and senior advisor to the undersecretary for health at the VA and Veterans Health Administration, Waltman will work on Cerner’s federal team.
Oak Harbor is the second site to implement the EHR as part of the Defense Department’s health IT upgrade initiative, following February’s go-live at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington.
The Genesis system includes a number of new capabilities, including interoperability via Cerner’s CareAware medical device platform, advanced clinical decision support, advanced specialty provider workflows and embedded clinical calculators and barcode medication administration, according to Cerner. It also includes a labor and maternity module that can create newborn records upon barcode scan and customized treatment plans for mother and child.
The VA awarded Cerner its lucrative EHR contract on June 5. A week later, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the VA cleared the agency’s 2018 spending bill, including $65 million for EHR modernization. In allotting the funds, lawmakers requested a thorough explanation of the Cerner solicitation, a blueprint for interoperability with DoD and non-VA providers and a detailed plan for developing and deploying a new EHR, including annual and lifetime costs.
Lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee said the timing of the Cerner award did not allow enough time to determine the cost of the new EHR versus the VA’s in-house VistA EHR.
“It can be assumed the VA total cost will exceed previous estimates for VistA Evolution,” the bill states. “To that end, in its oversight capacity, the committee will reevaluate [in conjunction with] the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, the constraints on the obligation or expenditure of funding for the new acquisition at the appropriate time.”