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New VA Oversight Provisions In Oracle Contract Review

New VA Oversight Provisions. With the Veterans Affairs electronic health records modernization contract up for its first of four annual renegotiations, senators serving on the VA Committee sent a letter to Tanya Bradsher, VA deputy secretary, pointing out that more mistakes were made this year, and VA staff is “not getting the system they need.”


Responding to a February EHR software release of pharmacy-focused upgrades with code errors, the lawmakers asked the agency to add “additional accountability and oversight provisions.”

“The Department must take all steps possible to ensure VA is getting the services it purchased at a fair price and that Oracle Health is living up to its commitments,” Senators Jon Tester, D-Montana, Patty Murray, D-Washington, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in their May 6 letter.

In February, David Case, deputy inspector general at the VA’s Office of Inspector General, gave the House Veterans Committee’s subcommittee on technology modernization an overview of a software coding error that resulted in the widespread transmission of incorrect unique medication identifiers from new EHR sites to legacy EHR sites through the agency’s health data repository during a Feb. 15 hearing on the Oracle system’s safety and efficacy. 

New VA Oversight Provisions Lawmakers Acknowledged

While the lawmakers acknowledged in their letter that there has been some improvement in performance over the last 12 months, they expressed concern that significant challenges impacting the care of veterans remain. 

“These elements and the corresponding penalties resulted in Oracle Health crediting the government more money when it failed to perform over the last 12 months when compared to the previous contract,” the senators noted.

However, “Oracle Health’s delivery of the so-called ‘Block 10’ software release was incomplete.” 

“We encourage you to use the opportunity the new contract structure provides to re-review terms and add additional accountability and oversight provisions to protect veterans and taxpayers,” they told Bradsher.


Many congressional lawmakers have questioned whether the VA’s Oracle Cerner system, a rollout currently halted, is fundamentally flawed, and some want to scrap it

Meanwhile, Denis McDonough, secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, told the full House VA Committee last month that rollouts of the Oracle Cerner EHR would resume in 2025

“VA is seeing incremental, but accelerating progress as it addresses the issues that clinicians and other end users are experiencing and as it optimizes the current state of the EHR system to ensure the enterprise-wide foundation is in place for success when deployments resume,” he said in a statement on the VA’s Budget Request for Fiscal Years 2025 and 2026.

New VA Oversight Provisions

The backlash on Oracle Health’s staggering roadblocks to delivering the VA’s EHR has not gone unnoticed beyond legislative halls, and the $28 billion Cerner purchase in 2022 has resulted in nearly a dozen of Cerner’s large clients lost and slipping sales that have led to thousands of cuts in jobs, Bloomberg reported May 9. 

Last year, Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle Global Industries, said in an email to Healthcare IT News that the renegotiated contract reflects not only a commitment to veterans’’healthcare but also Oracle’s “complete confidence in our technology.”

On May 3, Oracle announced the final go-live of the Department of Defense’s EHR, MHS GENESIS, at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in Chicago, and with it, Oracle’s EHR is live and operational at all DoD garrison facilities around the world.


“When your May 2024 contract negotiations have concluded, we request that you provide us with a summary of the new enforcement provisions and terms as well as a summary of how the department has used the May 2023 agreement to achieve better outcomes,” Tester, Murray and Brown requested in the letter.

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