Washington, D.C.– Today, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act of 2021, legislation introduced by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) – ranking member and chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – to increase transparency surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program. This legislation already passed the House of Representatives and will now go to the President to be signed into law.
Last summer, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released three reports that raised concerns surrounding the deployment of the EHRM 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 EHRM.
“The VA, and consequently our nation, has invested a great deal of time and money into the VA Electronic Health Record Modernization program,” said Sen. Moran. “The potential benefits of this program are tremendous, and we have to get it right. This legislation and soon to be law will ensure the VA is providing the proper transparency throughout the EHRM implementation to better allow this committee to conduct oversight during the deployment process to ensure veterans receive the care they deserve and hold the VA accountable for taxpayer dollars.”
“Providing our veterans with seamless, high-quality care means making sure the electronic health record system is hitting the mark—for vets, for their families, and for taxpayers,” said Sen. Tester. “This bill is now on its way to the President’s desk. I’m hopeful he signs it into law without delay so Congress is able to exercise strengthened oversight over this program, ensuring it delivers lasting value to the VA medical staff and veterans who use it.”
Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), along with Mike Braun (R-Ind.), cosponsored the legislation.
Following the release of the third VA OIG report earlier this year, Sen. Moran released a statement available here and Sen. Tester released a statement available here. Sens. Moran and Tester also held a hearing titled, “VA Electronic Health Records: Modernization and the Path Ahead” with VA Secretary Denis McDonough.
U.S. Representatives Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Frank J. Mrvan (D-Ind.) introduced companion legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last November.
Bill text of H.R. 4591, the VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act of 2021, can be found here.