Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today called on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to plan for long-term staffing needs as medical centers in Eastern Washington and across the country manage the additional workload created by the failed implementation of the Oracle Cerner electronic health record system.
She was joined in sending a letter to VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy by a group of lawmakers who represent VA medical centers where the new electronic health record system has been implemented, including Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Troy Balderson (OH-12), and Mike Carey (OH-15). Below are excerpts from the letter:
“The medical centers in our districts should not have to choose between staffing up to continue safely caring for veterans and blowing a hole in their budgets, forcing painful cuts in the future,” wrote the lawmakers. “The VA central office selected them as the initial sites for the Cerner EHR, but the VA central office has not provided them with the resources they need to stay afloat.”
“If you intend to continue the EHR rollout, which we do not recommend, we believe the only responsible path forward is to create a staff augmentation fund within the Electronic Health Record Modernization budget,” they continued. “All needs must be accounted for to ensure timely, safe health care for our veterans. It is only fair that the program creating the impacts should also pay the costs to absorb those impacts.”
The lawmakers concluded, “Whatever is ultimately decided about the fate of the program, our medical centers cannot be left behind. They have been forced onto a deeply flawed system, and they are struggling to address the needs of the veterans in our communities.”
Click here to read the full letter.