Senior staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs gave inaccurate information to investigators probing possible misconduct involving the department’s electronic health record (EHR) modernization, a watchdog found.
In a report published July 14, the VA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said staff had submitted details of a training evaluation plan without telling reviewers that it had not been fully implemented or approved.
The VA’s OIG found also that staff delayed production of requested proficiency check data sets, provided erroneous summary statistics, and failed to disclose concerns over data reliability and the exclusion of certain data.
The watchdog’s investigation stemmed from a previous review at the initial electronic health record modernization program roll-out site, the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. During this prior review, inspectors experienced major challenges in receiving timely, complete and accurate information.
“The investigation revealed that while the Change Management leaders did not intentionally seek to mislead the OIG, their lack of diligence resulted in delays and misinformation being submitted that impeded oversight efforts,” the latest report said.
VA’s OIG also published a wide-ranging new report on safety concerns related to the roll-out of the EHR, in which it concluded that the system caused 149 instances of harm to veterans.
The IG found that the Oracle Cerner-developed platform sent thousands of orders for specialty care, lab work and other services, and claims to an undisclosed location.
It found also that Oracle Cerner knew about a flaw but failed to fix it or inform the VA before the system was launched in October 2020.
Details of a draft version of a report were first reported by the Spokesman-Review newspaper.
The document also showed that a VA patient safety team briefed the department’s deputy secretary in October 2021 about harm and ongoing risks posed by the system, despite VA Secretary Denis McDonough earlier this year saying he was not aware of any harm caused by the system and that he would halt its rollout if safety experts determined it increased risk to veterans.