Newsroom

 KXLY: Senator Murray questions Spokane VAMC’s preparedness for new electronic health records system – MORE HERE 

Senator Murray: “There’s no question we need safe, secure, efficient processes for health records to be shared within VA, and soon, but to truly help veterans this must be done right and not rushed”

Washington, D.C. – After U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to senior leaders at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) questioning whether VA was prepared to begin piloting its new electronic health record (EHR) system beginning in March, VA officials announced that they are delaying rollout of the new system. Specifically, Senator Murray questioned whether Spokane VA Medical Center (Spokane VAMC), which was supposed to be one of the first facilities in the country to implement the EHR system, was prepared to pilot the new program. Over the past year, VA’s implementation of the Electronic Health Record Modernization project has faced extensive challenges and Spokane VA has been plagued by a host of issues that have limited Eastern Washington veterans’ ability to receive timely, quality health care.

“There’s no question we need safe, secure, efficient processes for health records to be shared within VA,
and soon, but to truly help veterans this must be done right and not rushed,” Senator Murray said. “I’m glad VA listened to my concerns and delayed implementation. They need to make sure this can be done in a way that has nothing but upside for veterans in Eastern Washington—and I will continue to monitor this closely.”

The long planned restructuring of VA’s EHR system is meant to ease sharing of medical records between the Department of Defense and VA, as well as VA and community providers. It is projected to be completed by 2028. The recently announced delay also follows the dismissal of VA deputy secretary James Byrne, who was in charge of the EHR modernization project.

As a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Murray has consistently conducted oversight of VA’s implementation of EHR systems to ensure that veterans in Washington state and across the country are receiving the quality care that they deserve. The letter is only the most recent action by Senator Murray in monitoring Spokane VAMC and its persistent challenges, including staffing and space shortages and the closure of its 24-hour emergency room, which has yet to reopen. These challenges have impeded veterans in Eastern Washington’s ability to get VA care, and a recent VA Inspector General report outlined a variety of issues that local veterans face at Spokane VAMC, including lack of timely access to primary care.

###