Biden signs VA health record modernization transparency act into law
President Biden has signed into law the VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act of 2021.
Following the enactment of the bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs must report costs of its electronic health records modernization program to congressional committees on a quarterly basis and must start doing so within 90 days.
To comply with the legislation, VA will also be required to provide a breakdown of program funding sources in its reports. The bill was introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.
The legislation was passed amid frustration among lawmakers over the access to information about the modernization program being granted by the VA. It achieved wide bipartisan support from a long list of lawmakers.
In March, the department’s Office of Inspector General published a trio of reports that identified major concerns about care coordination, ticketing and medication management associated with the EHR program launch.
Earlier this week, the VA confirmed that it would delay the rollout of its electronic health record system at four VA medical centers from 2022 to 2023.
Commenting on the new law, Sen. Moran said: “The VA, and consequently our nation, has invested a great deal of time and money into the VA Electronic Health Record Modernization program.”
“The potential benefits of this program are important, and it is vital to get it right. Now that this legislation has been signed into law, we can make certain the VA is providing the proper transparency throughout the EHRM implementation,” he added. “This will better allow the committee to conduct oversight during the deployment process to ensure veterans receive the care they deserve and hold the VA accountable for taxpayer dollars.”
Sen. Tester said that it’s “clear that VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization program is not working for veterans, VA employees, or taxpayers.” He added: “I’m proud to have worked with Senator Moran and our colleagues to get our bipartisan bill across the finish line, allowing us to increase oversight and transparency on behalf of the VA medical staff using this program, so we can better provide our nation’s veterans the quality care they have earned.”