It Will Cost You About $5 Billion to Maintain the VA’s Old EMR

Yes, you read the title right. Here is the info:

It will cost the Veterans Affairs Department at least $4.89 billion to maintain its current electronic health record system during its Cerner transition, a VA official told lawmakers Thursday.

The VA currently uses a homegrown EHR called VistA, which agency programmers and clinicians developed in the 1970s. Now, under a $10 billion contract that the VA inked with Cerner last year, the agency plans to transition to a Cerner EHR, bringing its first sites live on the new system in 2020.

This is our government at work. But you can trust them with your money right?

The VA previously said that VistA cost the agency $2.3 billion from 2015 to 2017, however, this figure is “neither reliable nor comprehensive,” said Carol Harris, director for IT acquisition management at the GAO. That’s partially because costs related to VistA’s infrastructure and personnel were not well-documented, according to a report the GAO released Thursday.

The VA also didn’t include some hosting and data-standardization costs in the $2.3 billion estimate, suggesting the actual figure is higher.

Oh….My….God. Can they be more incompetent. But, yeah, let’s use these people to run a single-payer government system. That will work.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  4 comments for “It Will Cost You About $5 Billion to Maintain the VA’s Old EMR

  1. bbneo
    July 28, 2019 at 9:06 am

    It’s a jobs program, baby!

  2. R Stuart
    July 28, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Vista worked pretty well within the walls of the VA, but the fact that the for-profit EMR imdustry wasn’t getting their cut doomed it.

    • Steve O'
      July 28, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Yup, and consider this. VistA was constructed, incredibly, as a “rebel forces” EMR before the terms EMR or HMO even got on the map. It was built by VA’s IT geeks as a shoestring data handling system, on their OWN time, without the VA’s approval (or even awareness) by talking with members of the Healthcare team and implementing what they WANTED AND NEEDED.
      In essence, it was a proof-of-concept that EMR’s COULD exist.
      It was never funded or maintained properly. Instead, VA Information Technology turned into the same employment black hole that “Healthcare” now is in the American economy. It makes jobs.
      Cerner is principally a for-profit company working for for-profit Healthcare Megacorps. Its main job is to vacuum up money. There’s no clear way to attach it to the government machine without all sorts of jerky fix-arounds.
      They’re going to smash this system into the VA ASAP, and get corporate money and jobs and overtime to put lipstick on this wriggling pig. It will take a few years to get it to work.
      Oh, and thousands of Veterans will die unnecessarily due to IT mechano-f*ckups. Sorry, dudes and dudettes! You said you would give your life for your country, no takesies-back!
      I see this as settling out at perhaps $50 Billion Dollars after five years. Price of progress, right? But this way, the Clinical Exam Clerk / Provider will be able to Google “headache” and diagnose neurocysticercosis when the computerized-MRI-reader says so. What else causes headaches, anyway? Also, the VA is being used as a loophole for untested treatments hawked by sly vendors. Gotta do some hoomin’ studies before the FDA approves them, ya? And beagles are expensive.
      Practice up your herbal medicine, soldiers.

  3. Randy
    July 27, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    it wasn’t that long ago that Vista was being held up as an example of government achievement in health care. It was free to everyone, so I downloaded it when I was first looking for a EMR. i didn’t have much luck getting it to work and ended up with a commercial EMR (Amazing Charts).

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