The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a detailed schedule for its Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) program deployment plans, with revised plans to deploy the EHRM program at a second location in Columbus, Ohio, on March 5, 2022.

VA launched the first EHRM deployment at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., in October 2020 and VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy initially predicted VA would deploy the program in Columbus in February 2022.

However, the revised schedule “leverages the lessons learned from VA’s initial operating capability sites and incorporates feedback from facility end-users, VISN [Veterans Integrated Services Networks] leadership, and VHA [Veterans Health Administration] program offices, including future sites,” according to VA.

The schedule details EHRM deployment dates for several other locations, including Walla Walla, Wash., which is set to deploy the program on March 26, 2022. After that, Roseburg, Ore., and White City, Ore., are set to deploy the program on June 11, 2022. The schedule details which locations will deploy the new program and when through December 2023.

“Future deployments, adjustments, and/or modifications to the schedule will be made based on any additional clinical and technical findings and will continuously consider the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” VA said in a press release.

VA also noted that pre-deployment activities are underway in VISNs 10 and 20 and it is preparing for future fiscal year site deployments in VISNs 12 and 23.

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Members of Congress have expressed concern over the deployment schedule for 2022 amid existing EHRM problems in Spokane, such as worsened employee morale and job satisfaction due to the EHRM deployment.

Nevertheless, Remy noted that when a location deploys the EHRM program, it does not mean the system will go live.

“When we deploy the system, we’re still in the early processes of making sure that we have training and testing, authentication, and user engagement and adoption before we flip the switch and have the system go live at a location,” Remy told lawmakers in November.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.