Brown Joins VA Committee Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Increase Transparency of VA Health Record Modernization

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation to increase transparency surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program.

This summer, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released three reports that raised concerns surrounding the deployment of the EHRM program. Two of the reports raised issues with cost estimates and reporting. The VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act would hold the VA accountable and increase transparency by requiring the VA Secretary to submit periodic reports to Congress regarding the costs, performance metrics and outcomes for EHRM.

“Health information technology helps reduce medical errors, improves patient care, and lowers health care costs. By improving transparency of VA’s EHRM program, we can ensure that these technologies are properly implemented at Ohio’s VA medical facilities. I’ll continue working with my colleagues to make sure VA learns from previous rollouts, and implements fixes before the EHRM system comes to Ohio,” said Brown.

Earlier this month during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing titled “An End-of-Year Look at the State of VA,” Brown (D-OH) raised concerns with VA Secretary Denis McDonough about VA’s EHR system, its Caregivers Program expansion, claims processing, and predatory for-profit colleges. In August, Brown sent a letter to Sec. McDonough expressing concern over the growing number of disability claims being filed with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Due to COVID-19, the VA temporarily paused in-person Compensation and Pension (C&P) examinations, which led to a significant backlog of claims.

Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), along with Mike Braun (R-IN), cosponsored the legislation.

U.S. Representatives Mark Takano (D- CA-41), Mike Bost (R- IL-15) and Frank J. Mrvan (D- IN-1) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed the full chamber last month. Bill text of H.R. 4591, the VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act of 2021, can be found here.