Cerner Electronic Health Record

Veterans Affairs To Follow Failed DOD Cerner Electronic Health Record Plan

The Department of Veterans Affairs will go ahead with its previous plan to transition away from its VistA electronic health record system to one created and managed by the for-profit company Cerner despite negative signals from DOD.

DOD rolled out MHS Genesis by Cerner last year and hit massive roadblocks along the way. The Pentagon now declared the system as “neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable” but acting VA secretary Robert Wilkie signed the contract anyway, saying “President Trump has made very clear to me that he wants this contract to do right by both Veterans and taxpayers, and I can say now without a doubt that it does.”

After being rolled out, testing officials concluded MHS Genesis could only perform half of the 197 tasks necessary and it was very slow. In the end, they new system could not even support four locations properly much less the hundreds of facilities needed when the system if fully rolled out.

“VA and DoD are collaborating closely to ensure lessons learned at DoD sites will be implemented in future deployments at DoD as well as VA. We appreciate the DoD’s willingness to share its experiences implementing its electronic health record,” Wilkie said.

What do you want to bet the system will be a total flop, costing taxpayers way more than $10 billion, and that no one will be left to answer to Congress when the system fails just like DOD?

Over the past week, I collected information from numerous proponents of the current VistA system. Those specialists supported a cheaper solution of rebuilding the existing system. The plan was to use developers hired directly into VA like the agency used to do before it was gutted in the past twenty years.

The agency hamstrung VistA development that resulted in the system needing to be replaced or upgraded. Right now, the political climate supports replacing the existing system, but problems with Cerner’s development at DOD suggest Wilkie’s present decision may send Veterans Affairs in the wrong direction.

I plan to write more on this in the near future as a forecast of what the veteran community can expect.

Below in italics is the full press release from the agency:

Statement by Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie

VA signs contract with Cerner for an electronic health record system 

I am pleased to announce we have signed a contract with Cerner today that will modernize the VA’s health care IT system and help provide seamless care to Veterans as they transition from military service to Veteran status, and when they choose to use community care.

This is one of the largest IT contracts in the federal government, with a ceiling of $10 billion over 10 years.  And with a contract of that size, you can understand why former Secretary Shulkin and I took some extra time to do our due diligence and make sure the contract does what the President wanted.

President Trump has made very clear to me that he wants this contract to do right by both Veterans and taxpayers, and I can say now without a doubt that it does.

With this contract, VA will adopt the same EHR platform as the Department of Defense (DoD): 

  • Patient data will be seamlessly shared between VA, DoD, and community providers through a secure system.
  • Health information will be much easier to share, and health care will be much easier to coordinate and deliver, as well as faster and safer. 
  • Care by all providers will be transparent to the entire care team.
  • VA will add capabilities to the system as necessary to meet the special needs of Veterans, VA clinicians, and our community-care partners.

When fully deployed, the new system will represent a monumental advance in Veterans’ health care — bigger than VA’s initial deployment of electronic health records 40 years ago.

  • VA and DoD are collaborating closely to ensure lessons learned at DoD sites will be implemented in future deployments at DoD as well as VA.  We appreciate the DoD’s willingness to share its experiences implementing its electronic health record.  
  • We already have $782 million in funding for FY 2018 to get the effort underway, thanks to support from Congress.

In sum, signing this contract today is an enormous win for our nation’s Veterans.  It puts in place a modern IT system that will support the best possible health care for decades to come.  That’s exactly what our nation’s heroes deserve.


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  1. Seymour
    I perceive that several issues have been “split up”, whereas, I believe that they were grouped up before. Specifically, Blue Water Veterans and the expansion of AO presumptive diseases. I perceive that the House Subcommittee passed the Blue Water Veterans and, subsequently, turned it to the House, where it passed. The Senate awaits. This, to the tune of a ton of well deserved money, will be funded through the VA Home Loans in some manner.
    I didn’t hear anything on the expansion of AO diseases, such as Parkinism (me) or bladder cancer. (Maybe me).
    I read/reviewed about the Case on Guam. I’m wary, but pleased about the trend that I’m seeing! But,again, it’s all about $$$$.
    If you locate something, please try and pass it on.
    Thank you!

    1. Orange Spazz,

      Parkinson disease!!! Parkinson’s has been on the list since May 4th, 2016 according to the VA website at: “”

      “Parkinson’s Disease and Agent Orange. Veterans who develop Parkinson’s disease and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their disease and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation. May 4, 2016”

      I will be following up with more latter.

  2. Seymore
    Regarding the aforementioned item #2..expanding other presumptive issues of AO…. Being directly affected by AO, I’m, very much interested in the source of information or reliable updates.
    Shulkin, indeed, kicked it down the road.
    Anywhere that you could recommend?

    1. Orange Spazz,

      I know that this is an important issue and normally I provide links to info on the statements I make or at least keep my own record of where I found the info. But in this case I did not. I have spent the better part of several hours trying to find the source of the info on expanding other presumptive issues of AO.

      What I had read was that Wilkie was moving forward with adding several illnesses to the presumptive list shortly after he was made Acting Sec of VA. I believe that he may have already moved forward with congress and the funding may be included in the current bill.

      Also note it was not connected to the Blue Water Veterans or what is currently happening with Veterans who were stationed at Guam.

      Worth mentioning is the new stance on Agent Orange and Guam being taken by the Veterans Administration under Wilkie. Currently the VA is accepting that a key componet of Agent Orange was used in Guam and have approved benefits for a Veteran who was stationed there.

      Guam Sources:

      GAO to probe Agent Orange on Guam
      Louella Losinio | The Guam Daily Post Dec 1, 2017

      Soil tests for Agent Orange in Guam to start early 2018
      8:33 am on 19 December 2017

      “The Government Accountability Office findings are expected by May 2018.”

      Results of federal Agent Orange probe delayed until July
      John O’Connor | The Guam Daily Post Apr 2, 2018

      60-90 days to know whether Guam soil has traces of Agent Orange
      Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, May 2nd, 2018

      GAO not waiting on soil test for Agent Orange
      John O’Connor | The Guam Daily Post May 8, 2018

      Pasco veteran’s benefits victory may open flood gates for others exposed to Agent Orange
      By: Steve Andrews, Updated: May 02, 2018 07:46 AM EDT

      Target 8: VA missed cancer, veteran fights for treatment and life
      By: Steve Andrews (WFLA) Mar 01, 2018

  3. Although I do not like the Cerner deal at all. I do notice some of the changes that have already occurred under Wilkie.

    1. Money to help homeless Veterans is now being spent on helping homeless Veterans. The same money Shulkin tried to have converted to general fund to help pay of his deal with Cerner.

    2. The addition of illnesses being added to the list for Agent Orange Exposure that were supported by the Study completed by the Nation Science Foundations Study. The same study and illnesses that Shulkin kept kicking any action on down the road.

    3. Swamp rats like Murphy and Bowman are being moved out of leadership positions with a major turnover of SES swampees being fired and removed from the VA.

    4. The new legislation passed allows for any Veteran who has already been enrolled in VA Health care to be able to walk into anywhere to see a doctor with the VA paying for up to two Visits per Year without prior approval.

    That is just some of the highlights of what has been occurring after Wilkie took over. Also like the D.O.D. I am sure any contract between the VA and Cerner is going to be limited in scope during the roll out and failures will stop the cash flow instead of the way the VA has always handled it in the past and just handed the money over for failed IT projects.

    1. Oh and the VA will be paying Medicare rates for Veterans to see outside medical professionals not the discounted Health Net and Tri-West rates. Also the VA will be paying the bills not Health Net or Tri-West holding back payments as long as they can to make as money as they can off the interest.

  4. Robert Wilkie looks like he sucks bananas for a living. The bigger the banana, the more he likes to suck it. Robert Wilkie is going to be a bigger failure than Shulkin, McD, or the Shinseki doze-off.
    Trump has been talking to many other potential candidates about taking on the Sec. job, but they probably all bucked out. Mainly because the VA can’t be fixed – ever – and they know it’s a fucking waste of time to think it can ever be fixed.
    So, the nominee goes to another shit – like Wilkie – who doesn’t ask the hard questions about just what is expected and how much power he will have to make drastic changes…the right changes.
    Wilkie certainly doesn’t provide any comment to The Brookings Institute study about large government IT projects having a 6% (or lower) chance of success. This would be too complex for him to discuss, because he is an idiot hack and a soon-to-be huge failure (if he is nominated…which he probably will be).
    We would all like for him to discuss what Brookings stated about the Cerner platform and it’s virtual uselessness it will be to use at the VA. Instead, dopy ass thinks he is real smart, and has the answers, and remains non-transparent about all of this.
    This kind of behavior/attitude is what all of us veterans will have to look forward to besides looking at his lamb-chop face if he is appointed .
    Let’s begin to demand he gets his ass kicked out — even before he becomes the Sec.

  5. Titled:
    “Robert Wilkie Nominated To Be Veterans Affairs Secretary!”

    News Commentary
    By Jim E | May 18, 2018 12:28PM

    “President Trump just made it official.”

    “The President just nominated Robert Wilkie to head up the Veterans Affairs department. This nomination comes after President Trump’s previous nomination, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, withdrew his name from the nomination process. (RELATED: Ronny Jackson Withdraws Nomination for VA Director).”

    “Politico reports the following:”

    “President Donald Trump on Friday announced he would tap current acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to be the department’s next permanent leader, joking that he had “ruined the surprise” for the previously unaware Wilkie.”
    “A former aide to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Pentagon official, Wilkie must be confirmed by the Senate before becoming the VA’s permanent leader.”

    “Wilkie has been the acting director of the VA since the departure of David Shulkin back in March. (RELATED: Shulkin Says The White House Silenced Him – He Actually Responded To Allegations Three Times).”

    “This is a much-needed move by President Trump. It will bring certainty and leadership to a government agency in dire need of it. No government agency can operate effectively without an acting department head for very long.”

    “The VA has been languishing in scandal for years now, as the federal government fails to provide adequate care to veterans. President Trump vowed to reform the agency, and now he has put a new man in charge in order to accomplish that mission.”


    There’s more in the article! Just a “Heads Up!”

    1. So the Cerner deal was to win enough votes from the swamp people to see Wilkie will be confirmed.

      Watch how quickly Cerner will be shut down on their limited installation roll outs at the VA after Wilkie’s senate confirmation.

      I mean really with the Pentagon already placing Cerner on a hold pattern that is expected to last at least until the end of the year. That is with military personal training on and using the system can’t wait to see the cluster fuck of trying to train VA employees, with the AFGE. No doubt leading to full fighting mode against the new system after they start installing it. The resistance to change at the VA will end the VA contract with Cerner within one year.

      Like I had said a few times since Wilkie took over. This isn’t Trump’s first Rodeo and that he already has the man he wants running the VA in place.

  6. As a traveling physician who has used Cerner many times, this is a joke. Cerner is trash. An outdated, ineffective system that should be laid to rest-permanently. Once again the VA has an opportunity to do the right thing by the vets and its employees and once it again it is apparent that is not where the loyalty lies.

  7. More chatter about the issue.



    1. “”

      Ha the Ds are concerned? Imagine that.
      ” Walz and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, also expressed concerns with the capability of VA leadership to establish the new system.

      On Tuesday, Democrats demanded the VA fire its new acting chief information officer, Camilo Sandoval, who served as the data operations director for Trump’s presidential campaign. The Trump administration has recently come under scrutiny for consulting with Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 presidential campaign because the data firm harvested Facebook users’ personal information.”

  8. “T”,
    In my opinion, there is/are no such thing as “…a secure system…” in any kind of computer science system! This has been proven time and time again.
    Facts are:
    If the “systems aren’t hacked”, then the “systems” are subject to “unscrupulous persons leaking the information”!

    Has anyone, especially Wilkie, considered that? I doubt it!
    Has “Cerner” put “counter Intel plans in place to protect any of the information”? Again, I doubt it!

    In my opinion, this “contract” is a waste of taxpayers monies and will not help veterans.

  9. “”

    I find it odd that when it comes to law enforcement doing doctor shopping checks, pharmacy and prescriptions checks, criminal checks, some background med info, seem to be ‘seamless’ and fairly swift. Other needs or requirements that should be that easy may take days, weeks or months.

    I also hope people keep in mind that any release of info, medical files, we are forced or required to sign for some politician’s use to supposedly help us with some issue or over the VA, use for emergency medical assistance by local utilities like to keep the elec on a priority list of repairs, and more leaves our info totally open to all involved in these processes including activist staff like at Sen Donally’s office i dealt with over just one phone and giving them my phone number and email. Later dealing with all kinds of new harassment and maliciousness from that move alone. I informed his staff I just wanted to discuss matters with the senator and done passing open ended agreements to my medical files to anyone demanding to see them to help and no guarantees of security to be had. Help which never comes from doing so but plenty of other unusual things pop up and never ends. Catching my drift? Brain not very witty or sharp today.

    We know nothing about any staff worker, nothing about some utility or union worker, desk clerk, secretary, registering person out there that also seems to have access to our info even when they claim they don’t. Secure?? But happen to mention doing checks, like with ‘Smart Meters” claiming to check inside medical devices (named) by the meter, then their office reporting they do no such and have no access to our information. Then claims no crews have been to my house, two trucks, two crews were my imagination. Which is it? Truth please. Not to be found. Same goes for hospital staff and such I have been dealing with and reporting as well out here to show others how things work with the VA and their threats to how the retaliation and identity politics games are played. Or are here locally anyway.

    Same went or goes when attending town meetings and have cocky remarks made when the minutes are shut off or out in parking lots where some mafia member or political hack can freely mention personal or medical information/issues for a knee-jerk reaction from me that can only come from limited sources like the local CBOC, civilian hospital staff who happen to be married or connected to local politicians and city cliques. Okay got it, you can attain any info you want and do all the harm you can, gossip and slander away being free from prosecution and above the laws and ethics.

    Point being… just who all are considered to be part or parcel of “our team?” Anyone with a computer and any countless number of staff, union workers, activist, college kiddies, pharmacy workers, clinic staff, etc. Who are they all and we are supposed to trust the entire chain of info passers and gatherers? We know they all lack ethics, morals, oath keeping to our privacy concerns.

    Per your link Ben:

    Patient data will be seamlessly shared between VA, DoD, and community providers through a secure system.
    Health information will be much easier to share, and health care will be much easier to coordinate and deliver, as well as faster and safer.
    Care by all providers will be transparent to the entire care team.
    VA will add capabilities to the system as necessary to meet the special needs of Veterans, VA clinicians, and our community-care partners.”

    Partners in crime… not quality care. Birds of a feather…

  10. I’m thinking a whole bunch of swamp congress critters cannot come out of the water for a while due to a $10 Billion$ Erection that could last as long as 10 years.

    Please consult your physician if this election of erection cash should last more than 10 years, as this could be a serious medical condition affecting Veterans due to mutual masturbation fund profits becoming more appealing than actually helping Veterans with VA Deathcare.

  11. Hey, Wilkie,
    Just because President Trump says for you “…to do right by veterans and taxpayers…” doesn’t mean to; “sign a contract” which is a proven failure!
    I’d suggest you go back to the drawing board and figure out how you screwed up!
    Only, in my opinion, your as bad as the rest of the IDIOTS who’ve ran the VA for decades.
    Lastly, how much of the taxpayers monies, “$10 Billion over 10 years”, are not being used “to help veterans”?

  12. I read something earlier this year that there has been a frustrating trial run at a Northwest VISN.

    I have not been able to find that story, but the gist of one problem was the inability for doctors to locate previous needed patient info that they knew was entered in the records. The doctor/patient example used, alluded that this was a serious ongoing health issue needing constant monitoring and the Cerner system failed in its cross-referencing with VistA records.

    I really wish I could easily locate that write-up/article, because it really brought home some points of consideration we need to be aware of when getting care and/or securing our own info.

    1. I remember it but wouldn’t know how to search for it. Local talking media heads brought this issue up and declared perfection with all the new ‘electronic medical file transmissions’ that would give instant info about patients being picked up by an ambulance, their needs, meds, physicians names, and by the time reaching the emergency room the ER docs and possibly the ambulance crew would have our info at the push of a enter button. Fully prepared for any patient needs. Flawless communication systems with all our needed info, pharmaceutical, doctor shopping checks too. So they/patients/us need to be signing all those agreements for the electronic/computer, high tech, filing sharing, transmissions, etc., was justified and a good thing. Just like the telemedicine or teleconferencing for group therapies, etc. Oh how great and perfect it all is. Wrong. Brain fart… but I think I posted info about this months back.

      For years I signed those goofy forms or agreements at the VA and more recently at a hospitals and clinics. Not once and with repeated signing of these documents has there been instant info sharing or gathering. Or easy simple access to test results. Including at one hospital during surgeries one week apart and they couldn’t find info on me about Medicare, not in the system or in the Medicare sys, or special clinic info that they had just one week before… gone. Later when some info was found I was told I had to repeat the processes and questions all over again so the registering person could “hear it all straight from the horses mouth for verification purposes.” Nuts.

      More recently having to wait 2 to 4 weeks for my med file to be “faxed” to a new clinic from the old nasty one. So, I couldn’t have the VA files they had or theirs to hand carry, so are they going to “Fax” fifty pounds of paperwork that is total insanity and clinics jumbled together, with the newer info to piss off the new MD and staff?? Since it seems civy MDs and staff don’t like messing with those kinds of VA files. I asked why it would take so long especially signing those electronic file transferring agreements and such that is supposed to make our info easily had. Oh it’s not in their network yet, or others being on different ‘platforms’ what ever that means, one hospital using different systems? Or even after years of this… ‘it’s not completely set up yet for use.’ “Coming for future use and upgrades for modernization as we improve/upgrade our institutions.” Huh? But they show it on TV functioning well enough and for the elite.

    2. @T,
      I remember you mentioning all that facility confusion.

      I know that in addition to Cerner, another EHR/EMR “platform” in civvy use is Epic. Epic was considered for VHA but, because DoD uses Cerner it does make sense on that point, for streamlining some aspects of veteran medical care related to securing SC benifits. Those wanting to use Choice will endure different EHR/EMR’s depending on the outside facilities record/billing system in use.

      Beyond that, where I have concerns seems more like octopus arms. I don’t think VistA should be abandoned for the Cerner system, especially for those veterans that are satisfied with the care they are getting within VHA. That Northwest VISN trial run may well have adjusted certain aspects in their network but, as we well know, there have been issues with record transfers between VISN’s, even within VISN’s.

      This whole stressful transition is going to be a complete waste of time and money, if the “heads” think this can/should be smooth running snap-fingers quick throughout VHA and all VISN’s.

      Hang on to your patience, cuz we’re in for one helluva ride!

      1. Order can be found within chaos.

        The VA and Congress KEEP it chaotic without accountability

        Because with no proper auditing

        The order in this chaos are laughing all the way to the next piggy trough

        That same order utilize Veterans as the ticket to always demand more chaos

        The worm continues to turn…

    3. Ah-ha!
      I knew I’d find it in the last place I’d look!

    4. Hmmm!
      Within 24 hours of the the Cerner contract signing guess what happens!
      Not at all obvious.

  13. Dennis you are right!

    “Google, Oracle, or any of the other for profit software companies that are tried and true and have a long history of success would likely NEVER sign a contract with VA for anything.”

  14. 05/17/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    In your March [03/06/2018] article:
    “The VA’s EHR project is similar to other government IT projects, but judging from this history, the VA project is also very likely to fail. In addition to the usual causes of failure, the VA adds an extra layer of complexity that increases the odds of failure: its personnel show an immense resistance to change. Year after year, VA’s legacy EHR system, VistA, has been ranked amongst the best EHR system by physicians. VA that takes pride in its EHR system and its physicians and nurses have never used another software before. I imagine a large number of those physicians who think VistA is the best EHR system available will have some difficulty adjusting to an unfamiliar system.”

    “…extra layer of complexity that increases the odds of failure…”

    Go back to the Basics when all hell breaks loose…not to complexity to solve problems and issues.

    This is a high Tech version of Sabotage done in broad daylight.

    If the success rate is 6% [Brookings Institute]—the failure rate is 94%.

    Is the glass half full or half empty?


    Don Karg

  15. They should stop f*cking around and hire Google or Oracle to do this. Both are companies with tons of experience in database management and much more likely to have something closer to future-proof.

    1. Respectfully,

      Google, Oracle, or any of the other for profit software companies that are tried and true and have a long history of success would likely NEVER sign a contract with VA for anything.

      Here is why; VA will NEVER be able to produce a defined set of requirements for the software that does not change as often as the breeze. Virtually ANY knucklehead housewife who got elected and placed on the right committee can and will decide something else just has to be woven into the tapestry of software after it was made. The ever changing demands from a group of government workers with a reputation for deceit, reversed directions, and frankly a perception of extremely low cognitive potential from VA leadership that in contrast makes a brick wall seem like the class valedictorian makes accepting any contract from them like signing a lease for the Brooklyn Bridge.

      From a management point of view they know that at least 100 senators and an ungodly number of congressional folks can and will all weigh in on how this is all supposed to work…. until the project is half done and a new election brings all sorts of new farm hands, used car salesmen, and housewives into our congressional fold. Each then has their own ideas about how things need to work and they are EAGER to make what? Answer: change. It is probably their campaign slogan and ever single one wants to go home and be able to say they “changed” laws to help vets.

      Our government will have any legitimate company so wrapped up in ongoing ever changing parameters, negotiations, hearings, and who knows what before the project becomes such a behemoth that there is no possible way it can EVER be completed and my proof is the current system.

      Furthermore, whenever ANY company enters into an agreement for services with the federal government it ALWAYS under law comes with a huge set of printed conditions that the company must comply with. For instance the forest service once asked a company I was control systems engineer for to create some machines for them. The contract included about twenty pages of conditions that had nothing at all to do with the machines they wanted. For instance, we would be required to provide papaerwork and proof and submit our plans and so forth to prove that we had made every ongoing effort to hire minorities and other protected class citizens for labor. They wanted paperwork indicating ongoing compliance with ADA and all sorts of stuff that was ongoing. To cap it all off they wanted these conditions to be permanently binding on our business owing to the fact that all future spare parts and such would be purchased through us so therefor we would be held to a standard of compliance far exceeding typical business rules and oversight. There is zero profit in that and a whole lot of potential grief.

      The burden of paperwork was huge, but we ran away screaming from that contract for another simple reason – signing it would open our front doors to any federal inspector and regulator who decided to come measure the height of the bathroom sinks or decided to inventory the racial or gender mix or our staff and demand under threat of contract penalties that changes be made. It was a nightmare scenario and as I recall not one of our competitors touched the contract either. I heard they bought some used machines to do the stuff they needed.

      I cannot imagine Google wants to open their doors, books, and employment records to more scrutiny by Uncle Sam than they already have. Accepting an IT contract from VA is like a vet deciding to go for life saving surgery at a VA hospital instead of a civilian hospital; historically the odds just ain’t that good. Lesson? VA needs to be out of the business of direct medical services. These problems are handled and handled well outside the federal government, and have never been anything but an ongoing nightmare when the feds do it.

      1. Spot on Dennis. Besides, who could trust anyone working at Google as they play fascist pigs, censors, and activist?

        The full circle of medical or health services need a major overhauling including insurance companies and the rest. And while watching all these clowns over the years it’s obvious ‘they’ don’t want real change or to put things in place that may actually work. Job, patent, financial security for generations to come. While we suffer and die off.

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