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Military Health IT Getting $1.4B, With a Catch

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Among the many areas fully funded in the omnibus spending package is the Military Health System‘s information technology systems, with $1.4 billion allotted for fiscal year 2012.

At the same time, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2012 limits the Pentagon’s power to spend that money. The Act restricts the Pentagon from spending funds on EHR Way Ahead, a next-generation electronic health record program, until the defense secretary confirms to Congress that MHS has a cost-effective, interoperable architecture.

MHS requested $86.5 million for research and $4.6 million in operations funding for fiscal 2012. The Pentagon can spend only 10 percent of the funds until the defense secretary submits his report to Capitol Hill.

The secretary’s report must also outline the role an interagency office, manned by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, is playing in the development of the EHR program, according to NextGov.

The omnibus also restricts the VA from spending its $3.1 billion IT budget until it submits a report to Congress saying its projects meet requirements set out by the Office of Management and Budget, NextGov reported.

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