The Department of Defense (DoD) will increase the ceiling of the contract to modernize its electronic health record (EHR) system, MHS Genesis, by an estimated $1.1 billion, according to a report this week in NextGov.
In 2015, the Pentagon awarded a $4.3 billion contract to a Leidos-led team to modernize the Department of Defense’s EHR system. As the prime contractor, Reston, Va.-based Leidos formed a team of industry leaders including core partners Cerner, Accenture Federal Services, and Henry Schein to lead the development and integration of MHS Genesis through the program lifecycle. According to the report in NextGov, “The MHS Genesis contract with Cerner Corp. and systems integrator Leidos is currently valued at $4.3 billion with a total contract lifecycle value of $9 billion if all options are exercised.”
The report noted that the revised contract will likely be official in the coming months, and that the expanded funding “will include the Coast Guard in the project, while also gaining additional capabilities that were specified in the original contract.”
The increased costs will undoubtedly raise the eyebrows of some industry stakeholders, particularly following the rough patch that the Cerner/DoD project has gone through in recent months.
Back in January, it was announced that the EHR overhaul project would be suspended for eight weeks, with the goal to assess the successes and failures of the sites where the rollouts have already been deployed. In October 2017, Madigan Army Medical Center in Takoma, Wash. became the fourth military site to go live with the MHS Genesis EHR system. That deployment followed installations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor and Naval Hospital Bremerton. Madigan was the largest and last of four Pacific Northwest bases that make up the initial phase of the multi-billion-dollar Cerner implementation.
The project caught more heat this spring after a Politico report detailed that the first stage of implementations “has been riddled with problems so severe they could have led to patient deaths.” Indeed, some clinicians at one of four pilot centers, Naval Station Bremerton, quit because they were terrified they might hurt patients, or even kill them, the report attested.
According to the Defense Department, MHS Genesis will support the availability of electronic health records for more than 9.4 million DoD beneficiaries and approximately 205,000 MHS personnel globally.
The recent NextGov report also revealed that as of July 13, the Cerner platform was up and running at all four pilot sites. Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems said, per the report, that the agency is still troubleshooting the platform at the initial facilities, but the overall adoption’s shown “measurable success.” The large backlog of help tickets has fallen significantly since the May report, Cummings told reporters this week.
NextGov further reported that the four locations that will be part of next wave of MHS Genesis deployment will be: Naval Air Station Lemoore, Travis Air Force Base, U.S. Army Health Clinic Presidio of Monterey in California and Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.
In May, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) finally inked its own contract with Cerner to overhaul and modernize the department’s aging EHR system, called VistA. VA, which signed the $10 billion contract nearly a year after announcing that it would be going with Cerner, will be adopting the same platform as the DoD.
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