Following several delays and the revelation that an obscure office without a permanent director was in charge of integrating medical records between the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, the VA finally has issued a contract to manage the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) initiative. Avow Consulting Partners, Oak Hill, Va., has won a $3.9 million, 3 1/2-year deal to design and provide management services for the project beginning Feb. 26.
The VA also is soliciting bids for contractors to perform performance evaluations for the department's Health Community Pilot program, in which the VA will test the VLER system. Bids are due Jan. 26 for the contract, which will last as long as three years.
VA and DoD officials recently picked San Diego as the first VLER health community, where the two departments will share limited EMR data with Kaiser Permanente for about 1,000 patients. Plans are to have as many as six such communities testing interoperability by October.