According to conservativetribune:
Trump Admin to Implement New Electronic Records System for VA.
One of Donald Trump’s top promises as a candidate was to reduce wait times and inefficiencies at the VA. On Monday, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced one of the first major steps towards an overhaul.
According to ABC News, Shulkin said the Department of Veterans Affairs would be adopting an electronic records system created by the Pentagon designed to make the VA more efficient.
“It’s time to move forward, and as secretary, I was not willing to put this decision off any longer,” Shulkin said.
The system will replace the VA’s own internal system, a decades-old technology called Vista. According to CBS News, part of the problem is that Vista cannot talk to the Pentagon system, known as MHS Genesis.
Obviously, all of the VA’s patients are first service members, which means that their information is already in MHS Genesis. However, because of the incompatibility between Vista and the Pentagon system, the information has to be manually transferred over. With the new system, the two departments can “trade information seamlessly.”
“These commercial systems don’t talk together and we need them to talk together,” Shulkin said.
In remarks made at the White House, President Trump noted that Shulkin’s decision was a “truly wonderful, really monumental reform.”
“For decades the federal government has struggled to accomplish something that should be very, very simple — seamlessly transferring a veteran’s medical records from the Defense Department to the veterans groups and to the VA,” Trump said. “In recent years, it has taken not just days or weeks, but many months for the records to follow the veteran.”
“The records will now be able to follow the veteran when they leave service — meaning faster, better, and far better quality care.”
Shulkin plans to expedite the process by eliminating competitive bidding, which makes sense when you consider that compatibility is such a crucial element of the program. The VA will now negotiate pricing for the program and work out an implementation schedule. While he didn’t offer an estimate of what the transition would cost, Shulkin noted that the Pentagon’s contract for MHS Genesis cost $4.3 billion; the VA is considerably smaller than the Pentagon, so one would assume that the contract would be, as well.
The deterioration of the VA, combined with the Obama administration’s neglect, has been a national tragedy. President Trump got into office in point because he pointed this out, and now his administration seems to be taking the tentative first steps toward fixing it.
It’s going to take a lot more than an electronic records system, and Shulkin is pushing other proposals for improvement, but it’s certainly a start.
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