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VA Suspends Work on Electronic Healthcare Records System

Article update July 18 2024:

Since. the events described in the article below, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Oracle Cerner have made progress in fixing issues with the VA’s upgraded electonic records system.

According to a press release on the Oracle official site, the Department of Veterans Affairs is ready to resume the Oracle rollout that was suspended (see the article below) after a host of technical difficulties.

“VA’s intent to resume deployments in the next fiscal year is a significant milestone that reflects the hard work our collective teams have done to improve the system today, as well as confidence in our shared ability to continually evolve the EHR over time to meet the needs of both practitioners and patients.”

The new VA electronic medical records system, known as MHS GENESIS, is (at press time) active at select VA facilities and “at 3,890 garrison facilities with over 197,200 end-users serving more than 9.5 million beneficiaries spanning the United States, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region” according to Oracle.

It is intended to “provide service members with a single, longitudinal health record from enlistment through life-long care at VA.

What Happened During the Original MHS Genesis Rollout?

In 2021, we reported on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ installation of a new electronic health records system, debuting at selected Pacific Northwest sites. The system was intended to help “improve how physicians store and manage patient information concerning visits, test results, prescriptions, and other crucial information.”

This is all the result of the Department of Veterans Affairs signing a $10 billion contract with Oracle Cerner in 2018 to create an electronic health records system. Not just ANY type of digital recordkeeping, but one that would be specifically compatible with the DoD’s MHS Genesis system.

Earlier in April 2023, we reported that the VA was in the process of “a contract review and is considering its options for accountability and oversight of the project.”

Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs has canceled all work on the new electronic records system. It is entirely possible the VA will scrap the project, which is now said to be worth approximately $16 billion.

Related: Ultimate TRICARE Guide

In the Beginning

The Department of Veterans Affairs initial rollout of the system included several locations:

  • Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Spokane, Washington
  • Community clinics in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  • Community clinics in Sandpoint, Idaho
  • Libby, Montana
  • Wenatchee, Washington.

The patients using these facilities were the first to use that new system, accessed by the My VA Health portal, which was meant to “complement to the VA’s current portal, My HealtheVet,” and help veterans to manage appointments, prescription refills, medical records, and communications with healthcare providers.

The New VA Electronic Healthcare Records System Was Placed On Hold

The Department of Veterans Affairs has admitted there were issues with the rollout as it progressed; those issues have resulted (at least in part) in the suspension of its implementation in the healthcare system; it was meant to be used in more locations during the summer of 2023.

Whether or not the installation is allowed to continue may depend on the outcome of the VA review of the contract as mentioned above.

The suspension applies to all future installations, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Training on the electronic records system was initially slated to start in April 2023.

Some describe the delay as a major roadblock in the troubled rollout; other issues, including outages, have been listed by some sources as being harmful to VA patients.

Related: Comprehensive Military Benefits Guide

About the author


Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.