Cerner CEO Assures Lawmakers of O&M Savings With New EHR at Veterans Affairs

Cerner CEO Zane Burke told lawmakers on June 26 that the annual maintenance and operating cost of the electronic health record system his company is providing the Veterans Affairs Department would be lower than that of the existing system’s, which flies north of $1 billion, FCW reported Wednesday.

Health information technology provider Cerner in May won a $10 billion contract to replace the VA’s Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture with the same EHR being adopted by the Defense Department.

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs convened an oversight hearing on the initial implementation of the modernization program, whose costs also include about $1.2 billion for program management and $4.59 billion for infrastructure updates, amounting to a total bill of approximately $16 billion.

Dave Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office, assured the committee that the program would bring about savings, specifically in terms of data storage, though he also expressed concern that costs may rise beyond initial projections and called for better documentation.

Cerner’s EHR is scheduled for launch at initial operating capability sites on October 1. Its full implementation is expected to take 18 months.

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