The Department of Defense (DoD) on Tuesday released a justification and approval (J&A) document that says DoD is expanding the scope of the contract for its Electronic Health Record (EHR) system known as MHS Genesis. The document says that the contract must be expanded to achieve “a single standard baseline solution” with the new Department of Veterans Affairs EHR and also to incorporate the U.S. Coast Guard into the DoD EHR.

The contract, which tasks Leidos with implementing an off-the-shelf Cerner EHR, is believed to be expanding by close to $1.2 billion. Multiple outlets reported on that figure late Tuesday and this morning, based on comments made Tuesday by Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for Defense Health Management Systems (DHMS).

MeriTalk’s calls to DHMS and the MHS Genesis contracting officer were not immediately returned, and the J&A only lists a seemingly-erroneous estimated dollar value figure near $1.2 trillion, which seems to coincide with the number reported–save for the addition of three zeros on the end. The document indicates that the expanded funding will take effect in contract years 4 through 8.

MHS Genesis, originally a 10-year, $4.3 billion contract with Leidos awarded in 2015, aims to share patient records and data with a new VA EHR, provided under a just-signed 10-year, $10 billion contract with Cerner. In March, the U.S. Coast Guard also requested to partner with DoD to implement a Cerner EHR. These two factors provided the impetus for the expanded contract announced Tuesday.

“The government is not seeking, under this action, to procure a new or substantially modified EHR solution or implementation, but rather to extend certain existing capabilities necessary to meet its standardization requirements of achieving a standardized enterprise software baseline and to incorporate the USCG into the existing implementation,” the J&A said. “The scope being added under this modification will allow for the ordering of all services and additional capabilities necessary to maintain a standard solution baseline with the VA and USCG as they implement the solution.”

DoD also noted that new capabilities provided in the VA contract were not available at the time of the original DoD contract, and said expanding the contract’s scope will allow for these capabilities to be implemented and preserve the standard solution baseline.

VA is hoping to take a page out of DoD’s book and learn from some of its early difficulties in implementation. The newly-minted VA Secretary has called the EHR modernization one of his top priorities.

The J&A also notes that the contract does not need to be recompeted or include any additional contractors, because the implementation requires proprietary Cerner data. “Contracting with anyone else (other than Leidos) to work with Cerner would create significant redundancies, inefficiencies, and other issues,” it says.

The document goes on to explain the benefits of an EHR that will enable patient care for millions as they transition from active duty to civilian life and says DoD and VA will collaborate to ensure a seamless transition.

“The agencies will establish interagency governance to establish, manage, and maintain the standard enterprise baseline contemplated herein,” DoD said.

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Joe Franco
Joe Franco
Joe Franco is a Program Manager, covering IT modernization, cyber, and government IT policy for