WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee, recently joined Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) in introducing bipartisan legislation to increase transparency in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization program.
“We must modernize our VA health care facilities so that we can get veterans in New Hampshire and across the country the care that they have earned and deserve,” said Senator Hassan. “However, the VA hasn’t fully and effectively put into place its Electronic Health Record Modernization program – and that is a disservice to the veterans who could receive better care thanks to this program. This bill would further strengthen Congress’ oversight over the VA, help ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent effectively, and improve VA services for our veterans.”
This summer, the VA Office of Inspector General released two reports that raised concerns surrounding the deployment of the Electronic Health Record Modernization program. Two of the reports raised issues with cost estimates and reporting. The VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act would hold the VA accountable and increase transparency by requiring the VA Secretary to submit periodic reports to Congress regarding the costs, performance metrics, and outcomes for the program.
U.S. Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA), Mike Bost (R-IL) and Frank J. Mrvan (D-IN) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed the full chamber last month.
Earlier this year, Senator Hassan pressed VA Secretary Denis McDonough on the VA’s plan to ensure that VA health care professionals have consistent access to both old and new electronic health records so that veterans do not experience gaps in care. Additionally, Senator Hassan recently attended the White House signing ceremony for the Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021, which she introduced with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN). The bill directs the VA to create a program to recruit military medical personnel who have less than one year left in their service to work in federal health care occupations at the VA.