VA To Terminate Use of $472 Million Computer System
The Department of Veterans Affairs is ending the trial of a $472 million computer system at the Florida-based Bay Pines VA Medical Center after the system failed, the St. Petersburg Times reports. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) said Monday that the hospital will begin switching back to the old system immediately. He added that the change should be completed by Sept. 30, the end of VA's fiscal year. VA wanted to implement BearingPoint's Core Financial and Logistics System, or CoreFLS, system nationwide to track inventory and finances; Bay Pines was chosen as the first test site for the system. However, the Times reports that the system, installed last October, was "plagued with problems from the start," including improperly trained employees, billing and supply system issues and surgery delays. In addition, the three software programs that make up CoreFLS did not communicate with each other or VA's own clinical software program.
VA will continue to test CoreFLS in a "controlled environment," Young said, noting that Congress planned to cut funding for the project. "CoreFLS will not be used in any other VA center until a lot of the flaws that are there are solved," he said. VA officials told Sen. Bob Graham's (D-Fla.) office they might use the CoreFLS system in other facilities in Tampa, Fla., Miami and the West Coast. VA Secretary Anthony Principi two weeks ago said he would form an advisory committee to determine what to do with the computer system. VA last month acknowledged in documents to Congress that CoreFLS may never work.
Federal investigators found that VA has spent nearly $265 million of the $472 million budgeted for the program, the Times reports. "At a time when VA's health care system is stretched to the limit, it is outrageous -- simply outrageous -- to waste millions upon millions of dollars on a failed computer system," Graham said. Five VA officials since February have quit or been reassigned as a result of the computer problems and mismanagement at Bay Pines, the Times reports (de la Garza/Nohlgren, St. Petersburg Times, 7/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.