Nextgov: More Underestimated Infrastructure Costs Could Raise VA EHR Price Tag Another $2.5B

“The full cost of the Veterans Affairs Department’s new commercial electronic health record system—originally pegged at $10 billion, then revised up to $16 billion—could  be $2.5 billion to $5.1 billion higher than currently estimated, according to unaccounted for infrastructure needs included in two separate inspector general reports.”

“The VA has been working with Cerner for nearly three years to deploy a commercial EHR system, launching the first instance of Cerner Millennium last October at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical  Center in Spokane, Washington. In the run-up and after launch, the IG, Government Accountability Office and other watchdogs repeatedly warned of insufficient infrastructure support and planning, including the likelihood of cost overruns.”

“The IG released a report earlier this year that found  cost estimates for EHR-related physical infrastructure—such as electrical work, cabling, and heating, ventilation and cooling—were  underreported by $1 billion to $2.6 billion.”

“A new report released Thursday  looked at cost estimates for IT infrastructure—including system  interfaces and end-user devices like desktops and laptops—using  documentation maintained by the Office of the Electronic Health Record Modernization, or OEHRM, the central office managing the EHR system  rollout at VA and the related program at the Defense Department, MHS Genesis. There, the IG found a previously unidentified estimated cost  deficiency of $2.5 billion.”

“The two totals show VA could be underestimating total infrastructure costs by upward of $5.1 billion.  Taken together, these estimates would bring the total lifecycle cost to more than $21.1 billion, more than twice the original $10 billion estimate. However, the two audits were conducted independently, and the IG did not look at both cost areas together, an official told Nextgov…” Read the full article here.

Source: More Underestimated Infrastructure Costs Could Raise VA EHR Price Tag Another $2.5B – By Aaron Boyd, July 8, 2021. Nextgov.

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