Proposed DHA budget would triple funds for DoD-VA integrated EHR

The Defense Health Agency has requested a seven percent budget increase for 2015--$1.6 billion--to support operations and maintenance of health information management systems, reports Nextgov.

DHA also has requested $91.3 million for its effort to develop a new electronic health record system by 2017.

The proposed budget would more than triple funding for its work on an integrated EHR with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and DHA wants that $19.9 million from 2014 to grow to $68.3 million next year.  A more detailed DHA budget is to be released next Tuesday.

The DHA, which opened last Oct. 1, is intended to streamline healthcare among the Army, Navy and Air Force medical departments. The DHA also operates Tricare.

Dave Bowen, the director of healthcare IT and chief information officer for DHA, told Federal News Radio that it's focused on shared services to bring standardized infrastructure and applications to the entire Military Health System by October.

After the DoD and VA abandoned plans to build a joint EHR system in February 2013, Defense has been focused on using off-the-shelf technology. In October, it invited commercial vendors to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate.

However, in January, it issued a solicitation for a contractor to sustain its current systems for possibly as long as another four years, but also a draft request for proposals for the new EHR system. In February, it issued solicitations for software licenses for its healthcare facilities and for a dental EHR system.

As the VA continues its VistA Evolution EHR upgrade and efforts to reduce its claims backlog, the president's proposed budget would add $2 billion for IT within that agency. Funding for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT also would grow in the president's plan.

To learn more:
- find the Nextgov article
- here's the Federal News Radio story

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