The Veterans Affairs Department was transmitting sensitive data, including personally identifiable information and internal network routing information, over an unencrypted telecommunications carrier network, according to a March 6 VA Office of Inspector General report (.pdf).
Electronic alerts delivered to primary care physicians by the Veterans Affairs Department's electronic health record may go unseen due to information overload and other factors, finds research based on surveys of 2,590 VA doctors. Regression analysis shows that primary care doctors who reported information overload were also more likely to report having missed results that led to a delay in patient care.
Small businesses who apply to the Veterans Affairs Department for verification as veteran-owned will soon be able to correct minor issues instead of being denied, the department announced March 5. The department, which runs its own verification process for small businesses who want to participate in its Veterans First contracting program, said the new policy will go into effect May 1.
Getting the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments to share electronic health records by focusing on modernizing their respective systems, rather than developing a single system, is easier said than done, according to Feb. 27 congressional testimony (.pdf) by the Government Accountability Office.
The interagency program office set up by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to oversee creation of a joint electronic health record will continue to press forward with the adoption, acquisition or development of medical applications for use by both departments, outgoing VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said.
Outgoing Veterans Affairs Chief Information Officer Roger Baker held his last monthly presser with reporters Feb. 28, going over the January monthly data breach report (.pdf) to Congress and taking questions about the VA's and Defense Department's recent decision to cancel development of a joint electronic health record, the iEHR.
The fact of the Veterans Affairs Department electronic health record's decades-long existence isn't necessarily a good thing in the eyes of the Defense Department. The DoD is searching for an EHR to replace its own legacy system now that the two departments have called off a joint development program that was to have resulted in a single system known as the iEHR.
In a Feb. 22 blog posting, Mike O'Neill, OSEHRA board member and senior advisor to the director of the VA's Innovation Initiative, states that VA is "obviously not a vendor and wouldn't prepare or submit a traditional proposal-based RFI response," emphasizing that OSEHRA's "paper is not meant to replace or duplicate any other responses."
Veterans aren't getting better or quicker mental health care services despite the Veterans Affairs Department increasing its budget and staff by almost 40 percent over the past 6 years, says the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
The VHA's financial controls are inadequate, OIG auditors say in a recent report. One problem is that it hasn't always verified the home addresses that veterans list, and some have falsified their addresses so they can claim they traveled more miles.