Obama Rolls Out Plan for Electronic Records Project at VA, Pentagon
On Thursday, President Obama said his administration will create a new electronic health records system designed to seamlessly transfer medical records from the Department of Defense to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Washington Post reports.
Obama said, "Currently, there is no comprehensive system in place that allows for a streamlined transition of health records between DOD and the VA." He added that the new system will "contain [veterans'] administrative and medical information from the day they first enlist to the day that they are laid to rest" (Brown, Washington Post, 4/10).
The new program is a part of DOD's $47 billion health care budget for fiscal year 2010, the Obama administration said.
According to the administration, VA's overall budget is set to increase by $25 billion over the next five years (Hefling, AP/Kansas City Star, 4/9).
Currently, the two agencies have different medical systems, which has led to bureaucratic delays for veterans entering the VA system and a six-month backlog in disability claims at VA (CongressDaily, 4/9).
White House officials said that the goal is to integrate the two systems, but no details have been released about how that could be achieved, the Post reports (Washington Post, 4/10).
Administration officials said the electronic system, called the Joint Virtual Lifetime Record, could serve as a model for a national EHR system (Burns, Wall Street Journal, 4/10).
On Thursday, PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" reported on the new system. The segment included a discussion with:
- Steve Robinson of the Veterans for Common Sense;
- Donald Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement; and
- Deborah Peel, founder and chair of the Patient Privacy Rights Policy Center (Suarez, "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," PBS, 4/9).