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VA health records bill signed into law

U.S. President Joe Biden signs into law H.R. 4445, the "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021" at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 3, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray designed to improve transparency in the way the Veterans Administration handles electronic medical records.

According to a press release from Murray’s office, the VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act was passed with significant bipartisan support and would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit regular reports to Congress on the costs, performance standards and outcomes of the VA’s electronic health record system.

Murray introduced the measure in December 2021 following a series of reports from the VA’s inspector general which raised concerns regarding the rollout of the EHM program. Concerns included issues involving the program’s cost and VA’s failure to collect data to provide an accurate picture of how the program’s implementation is progressing at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane.

“The rollout of the EHR system has been totally unacceptable,” Murray said in the press release. “We’re talking about real patient safety risks that have gone unresolved for entirely too long.”

According to report this week by the Military Times, the VA recently suspended the rollout of the EHR system at four of its pilot sites — American Lake and Seattle VA Medical Center in the Puget Sound region, and Portland and Portland-Vancouver VA Medical Centers in Oregon — after the VA concluded the software was not performing correctly. According to the Murray press release, the VA inspector general concluded that nearly 150 veterans had been harmed because of failures in the electronic records system.


(c) 2022 the Columbia Basin Herald

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