Carter Remarks at Oversight Hearing for the Department Of Veterans Affairs Implementation Of The Electronic Health Record Modernization Initiative (As Prepared)

Sep 13, 2023

Today’s hearing is on the VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization program. I’d like to welcome our witnesses: Dr. Neil Evans and Dr. Jonathan Nebeker, who are leading the program for VA, and Mr. Mike Sicilia with Oracle Global Industries.

A modern, interoperable electronic health record system that fully integrates VA, Defense Department, and community providers is a fundamental part of fulfilling our promise to provide world-class health care to our country’s Veterans.

For more than 20 years, VA has attempted to modernize its system. About five years ago, I was hopeful VA was on the right track when it decided to acquire the same system as the Defense Department and then signed a contract with Cerner. However, we are now in a “reset” period.

I recognize the need for the reset and appreciate that the VA-Oracle team is working to fix the issues with the system itself and VA’s implementation plans.  Together, VA and Oracle must resolve the technical issues with the system. VA’s senior leaders must standardize VA’s processes and systems and eliminate unnecessary specialization. They must decide soon on what works best for most users. The clock is ticking. 

Frankly, American taxpayers have spent too many billions of dollars for this to fail. If VA cannot make the decisions necessary, this Committee will.