Early report pegs VA’s Cerner contract at $10B; judge says CliniComp lacks experience to compete for the bid

Even with the best clients, be careful when you agree to their special contract clauses.
One report says the Cerner contract will be around $10 billion, but the VA is still battling CliniComp in court.

Although the Department of Veterans Affairs has not yet finalized its contract with Cerner to implement a new EHR system, early reports suggest the cost could be much less than previously anticipated.

A contract can’t be signed until Secretary David Shulkin, M.D., gets the go-ahead from legislators, but one VA source told FCW that the final figure is around $10 billion. Previous media reports have indicated the cost would be closer to $18 billion.

Court documents indicate VA officials plan to finalize the contract this month. In a declaration filed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Matthew Truex, contracting officer at the VA’s Technology Acquisition Center, said he anticipates the contract will be awarded “sometime in November.”

RELATED: Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging VA’s decision to implement Cerner; CliniComp vows to appeal

A judgment (PDF) by Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby unsealed late last month also provides some insight into an ongoing case by EHR vendor CliniComp to stop the Cerner deal from moving forward. Griggsby, who dismissed the case last month, said the San Diego-based EHR provider could not have competed for the bid given that the size of the contract far exceeded CliniComp’s previous government jobs.

“CliniComp has no comparable experience performing the comprehensive tasks required under the VA’s planned contract with Cerner,” Griggsby wrote. 

CliniComp has appealed the decision and requested an injunction to stall the Cerner deal.

RELATED: Secretary Shulkin on Cerner integration: ‘This is a new VA’

In his statement, Truex noted that CliniComp has contracts supporting eight of the VA’s 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN). He said Cerner’s go-live is slated for a single VISN in mid-2019, but the remaining networks for which CliniComp holds contracts won’t begin until early 2020.

“I do not expect CliniComp to lose any work under its existing contracts (or any follow-ons to those contracts), based upon the Cerner contract, until 2021, at the earliest,” Truex said.