Roe Reintroduces Bill To Create Joint Military EHR System

Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) reintroduced legislation that calls for the development of an integrated electronic health record system for members of the military and veterans, Politico's "Morning eHealth" reports (Allen et al., "Morning eHealth," Politico, 3/25).

Background

In February 2013, the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs announced plans to halt a joint integrated EHR, or iEHR system, and instead focus on making their current EHR systems more interoperable.

In August 2014, DOD issued a final solicitation for bids for the $11 billion Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization contract, with Oct. 31, 2014, as the final date to submit proposals. A team of DOD civilians, military personnel and subject matter and procurement experts are evaluating the proposals.

As part of the project, DOD will replace the:

  • Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application, or AHLTA;
  • Composite Health Care System; and
  • Various EHR components, including AHLTA-Theater (iHealthBeat, 2/24).

Details of Legislation

According to WBIR, the bill would establish a temporary panel to create criteria for the EHR system, which would then be created by a U.S.-based vendor.

The vendor would receive a lump sum of $50 million to develop the system, as well as $25 million annually over five years to operate the system.

Roe said a joint military and veterans EHR system would help to streamline the transfer of medical records between DOD and VA. In addition, Roe said the system could help ease coordination of benefits claims and care.

In a statement, Roe added that the number of medical records VA handles makes such a system necessary. He said, "In fiscal year 2014, the VA completed more than 1.3 million claims. Unfortunately, it appears the VA is still not on track to keep their promise to completely eliminate the backlog in claims in 2014" (WBIR, 3/24).

Bill Conflicts with DOD Efforts

According to "Morning eHealth," Roe's bill conflicts with DOD's current efforts to award an $11 billion contract to a company to create an EHR system for the department.

However, Roe said DOD's plan would create a system that will not "be compatible with the VA system so that service members can have a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life."

According to "Morning eHealth," DOD did not respond to requests for comment on the legislation ("Morning eHealth," Politico, 3/25).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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