For new patient Records System?   TEN BILLION??  New Report by PoPublica on how the VA is being steered toward the ROCKS of Privatization FULL SPEED AHEAD!

EXCERPT>>   The VA pioneered this technology in the 1970s and 1980s, with a homegrown platform known as VistA. VistA was (and remains) popular with doctors because it was tailor-made to their needs. But over the years, the VA struggled to retain coders who could keep the software up to date. Meanwhile, the private health care industry coalesced around records systems built by a handful of software companies. In 2015, the DOD decided to adopt one of these commercial systems, made by Cerner.

For many years, the VA and lawmakers had agonized over what to do with VistA. The VA and the DOD had tried before to unify their health records, only to give up after four years and $1 billion. Changing platforms is extremely disruptive — it costs billions of dollars, leads to drops in productivity and can cause doctors to quit in frustration. Private hospital systems can justify these costs because the commercial platforms are designed to support billing. But the VA is different. In 2016, the VA commissioned an outside analysis that concluded adopting a commercial platform offered no benefit over upgrading VistA, according to six current and former officials.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House adviser, has advocated for putting the VA on the same system as the DOD, but some experts worry it won’t automatically give doctors all the information they need. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was in the December 2016 Mar-a-Lago meeting and is close with Perlmutter. To Kushner, it seemed obvious that the VA should go to a commercial vendor, and it should be the same one as the DOD, according to four people who discussed the matter with him. “Kushner basically said it seems like low-hanging fruit, seems easy, seems like a no-brainer,” a former senior administration official said. Kushner declined to be interviewed. As he recounted it to congressional interns last year (according to a recording obtained by Wired): “We said, ‘Guys, we want a solution to get us on one system, this is absolutely crazy.’ They came back in two weeks with something that made a lot of sense.”

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