WASHINGTON, DC -- The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a hearing to examine efforts by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure that an Integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR) becomes a reality for those that served. While there is a long history of the two Departments working toward this goal, in February they announced that they were no longer going to pursue a joint iEHR. Representative Mike Michaud (ME-02), Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, joined with the bipartisan leadership of both the House and Senate Committees in expressing his disappointment in this announcement. Today's hearing explored the new approach being put forth by the Departments and whether it would provide the same level of benefit to the stakeholders as a true iEHR.
"In transforming the VA into a 21st century agency, we envisioned a seamless record that could benefit the men and women who have served this country honorably," said Rep. Michaud. "Quite frankly, I am uncomfortable with the direction we are headed and skeptical that we will reach the goal of a single integrated record. What I heard in the hearing does nothing to dissuade that opinion. We, as a nation, have a 'sacred trust' to care for those who have served and sacrificed. These two Departments need to do a better job of working together. For far too long we have been discussing the need for an integrated electronic health record. The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs has been working to get the agencies to come together toward this goal for over a decade. While progress has been made, it is unacceptable and disappointing that we continue to struggle with this issue."
A copy of Michaud's opening statement at the hearing can be found here.