Reports: VA Secretary Won’t Ask for IT Funding with Uncertainty Surrounding VistA | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Reports: VA Secretary Won’t Ask for IT Funding with Uncertainty Surrounding VistA

May 25, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

While many federal agencies—including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—saw cuts across the board in President Trump’s 2018 budget request this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) got a spending boost, albeit not related to information technology.

The President’s 2018 budget includes $186.5 billion in budget authority for VA in 2018, representing an increase of $6.4 billion, or 3.6 percent from 2017. But, according to a report that analyzed the VA section of Trump’s budget request in Federal News Radio, “The budget includes a $215 million cut to IT spending in the department in 2018.”

What’s more, that report noted, “The IT budget does not account for VA’s future modernization project, particularly its plans to either outsource the work to continue the department’s current Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) or buy a completely new off-the-shelf IT solution. [VA Secretary] David Shulkin said he’s on track to make a decision about VA’s future direction by July 1.”

Developed by the VA more than 30 years ago, the VistA currently serves more than 1,200 healthcare sites of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) throughout the U.S.  But, VistA is considered outdated and unable to meet with the changing healthcare IT landscape. In April, VA released two requests for information (RFI) related to potentially replacing or enhancing this archaic system. In one of those RFIs, VA said it was seeking information about commercial off the shelf replacements for VistA provided in a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model.

Meanwhile, Shulkin spoke in front of the House Veterans Affairs Committee yesterday discussing why he didn’t request more funding for IT. He told Congress that the reason for this was because he didn’t know which way VA would turn to address the continuing problem the department has had with IT. According to the Federal News Radio report, Shulkin said, “We do not want to continue to ask for more money and invest more money in fixing broken systems. We are not done with IT. We’re going to need to come back to you after I announce a direction by July 1 to be able to talk to you about what really needs to be done in modernizing our IT systems.”

Meanwhile, according to a Politico Morning eHealth report today, Shulkin also said that VA will be expanding its pilot use of Epic Systems’ scheduling software, with an announcement expected in a few weeks.

 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.

Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.