Press Releases

Roe Introduces Legislation to Fulfill Health Records Promise to Veterans, Military

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Washington, May 20, 2013 | Tiffany McGuffee (202-226-8072) | comments

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) introduced the Integrated Electronic Health Records for Military and Veterans Act, legislation to create a public-private partnership for development of an integrated electronic health record system for our military and veterans. This bill would utilize private American innovation to finally deliver on an integrated electronic health records (iEHR) system. This system would enhance the transfer of medical records between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help streamline the coordination of care and benefits claims for those that have served.  

Roe released the following statement on the bill:    

“Men and women that serve this country, both past and present, deserve a seamless transition back to civilian life when their service is over. Earlier this year, there were over 900,000 veterans waiting for their disability claims to be processed. This has gone on for far too long and this legislation would improve communication between the DOD and VA to remedy this backlog, ensure our military and veterans receive the world class care they deserve and prevent our veterans from having to face a backlog like this again. We’ve made a promise to these men and women and it’s time we deliver. My bill will start this process.”

The legislation has been endorsed by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). Tom Tarantino, Chief Policy Officer at IAVA said:

"For years VA and DoD have both expressed their desired goal of creating an integrated electronic health records system but earlier this year announced the effort to do so would be dropped, after costing taxpayers nearly $1billion. The Integrated Electronic Health Records for Military Veterans Act is an opportunity for the sharpest and most innovative minds to produce an electronic health records system that will benefit the bravest Americans. With nearly 600,000 veterans stuck in the backlog, now is the time to formulate solutions that can best serve those who defended this nation so honorably." 

A copy of IAVA’s endorsement letter can be found here.  

Background: The Integrated Electronic Health Records for Military and Veterans Act would establish a competition for non-governmental, American-based entities to develop an iEHR for use by the DOD and VA. These agencies have spent more than $1 billion taxpayer dollars on the development of an in-house system, but announced in February that these efforts have been put on hold. The bill would create a temporary panel, chosen by the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to develop criteria for an ideal iEHR. The panel will have 90 days to establish these criteria. The winner of the contract will receive a lump sun of $50 million and the cost of contacting and implementation will be $25 million per year over a period of five years. The DoD and VA have already spent more than $1 billion in their efforts to develop this system, meaning the savings potential for this legislation is substantial. The Interagency Program Office, specifically created for iEHR development, spent approximately $362 million in FY2013 alone.

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