Jul 22, 2021 / Defense/Veterans

McMorris Rodgers Calls on VA Secretary for Transparency, Real Improvements to Electronic Health Record Modernization

Washington, D.C. (July 22, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today urged Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough to increase transparency around the 90-day strategic review of the Cerner Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center. 

Additionally, Cathy urged Secretary McDonough to address concerns around the real improvements that have yet to be made to the system rollout that veterans in Eastern Washington are depending on for quality health care.

“I believe this review was urgently needed to diagnose and identify solutions for the many issues and concerns coming into my office from the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center,” Cathy wrote in the letter. “I’m encouraged by the findings and the tentative action plans put forward in the final report.”

She continued, “However, I am eager to hear more details from your team about how these plans will translate into tangible improvements. Our nation’s veterans deserve gold-standard, timely care, and the new electronic health record should enable, not hinder this goal. For this reason, improving the system must remain a priority.”

Cathy also requested answers to the following questions that arose following the Secretary’s testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs last week:

  1. One issue that came up repeatedly in both hearings was a lack of effective communication between the VA and Cerner, especially on-the-ground in Eastern Washington. I have seen this myself with VA employees having to go through my office to report issues to make sure they are passed on to Cerner. What steps are being taken to streamline the communications process between VA and Cerner, particularly when it comes to reporting issues with the EHRM rollout at Mann-Grandstaff? 
  2. You stated that employees in our Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN), as well as the central office were misreporting EHRM data to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which made it hard to get an accurate picture of the situation at Mann-Grandstaff. What is being done to identify the responsible parties and hold them accountable? 
  3. What metrics are the VA using to track timeliness of care for veterans at Mann-Grandstaff? Does the EHRM support VA’s ability to track these metrics? 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter and complete set of questions.

NOTE: In March, Cathy called for a review of the Cerner electronic health record (EHR) system at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane after hearing an increasing number of complaints and pleas for help from veterans in Eastern Washington. Her request was immediately agreed to by Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough. The review was completed last month and revealed problems at Mann-Grandstaff that must be resolved before the system is deployed at additional VA sites. Cathy continues to advocate for veterans, working to restore 24/7 urgent care and to address the community care backlog at the Mann-Grandstaff medical center.

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