June 28, 2022

ICYMI: Manchin Bill to Strengthen VA Health Records Oversight Signed Into Law

Charleston, WV – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC), applauded the signing of his bipartisan VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act of 2021, which requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report to Congress on the implementation costs and performance reports of the new Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) system. The EHRM system improves health information storage and better connects VA medical facilities with the Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Coast Guard and additional community care providers, allowing clinicians to more easily access a Veteran’s full medical profile.

“Our Veterans have made great sacrifices to protect our great nation, and it is our duty to take care of them when they return home. That starts with ensuring accountability at the VA,” Senator Manchin said. “The EHRM system will help medical professionals in West Virginia and across the country provide the best possible healthcare for our Veterans. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to hold the VA accountable and ensure the successful implementation of the EHRM system. I’m proud of our bipartisan efforts to get this bill across the finish line, and I thank President Biden for prioritizing our Veterans and their healthcare.”

The EHRM system implementation has experienced several challenges. In July of 2021, the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report indicating that the VA did not report to Congress, as required by law, approximately $2.5 billion in projected costs for information technology (IT) infrastructure related to the deployment of the system. Additionally, a May 2021 OIG report indicated the VA had similarly not reported to Congress an estimated $2.7 billion in physical infrastructure costs for upgrades at medical facilities necessary for the system’s deployment.

The bipartisan VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act of 2021 requires the VA submit to Congress both a report on the costs of the EHRM system and a report on its performance and outcomes no later than ninety days after the enactment of the legislation and no later than thirty days after the last day of each subsequent fiscal quarter.

Senator Manchin was joined by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Boozman (R-AR), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),  Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

The full text of the legislation is available here.