VA Awards Big Electronic Health Records Contract To Cerner

Jun 5, 2017

The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department has awarded Kansas City-based Cerner Corp. a contract to create its electronic health record system.

VA Secretary David Shulkin on Monday announced the contract, which was awarded without competitive bidding under a “public interest” exception to federal contracting regulations.

The contract comes after Cerner won a $4.3 billion contract in 2015 to update the Department of Defense’s electronic health record system.  

Shulkin said the VA will adopt the same EHR system as the Defense Department, which is based on Cerner’s Millenium product.

Until now, the two organizations have not adopted the same EHR system, instead spending hundreds of millions of dollars on “interoperability” – or ensuring the different IT and software systems can communicate with one another.

“Without improved and consistently implemented national interoperability standards, VA and DoD will continue to face significant challenges if the Departments remain on two different systems,” Shulkin said.

In a statement, Cerner said it was “honored and humbled” to be selected. It said it believed the contract would “facilitate the efficient exchange of data among military care facilities and the thousands of civilian health care providers where current and former service members receive health care.”

The value of the contract is unknown – the details of the agreement will be worked out in coming weeks – but it’s thought to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.