The $3.3 billion would go to IT projects to develop electronic health care records, paperless claims systems, and the integration of medical and service records with the Defense Department, according to a summary of the bill provided by the office of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Johnson is chairman of the Appropriation Committee’s Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.
According to a report explaining the legislation, the committee recommends spending $938.8 million of the IT money for staff salaries and expenses, about $1.57 billion on existing programs and would give about $800.5 million for new program development.
However, the bill would place restrictions on the spending of the money for new program development until the head of the department or the chief information officer certifies to Congress the amount that will be spent on programs.
“While the committee remains very supportive of leveraging information technology solutions to transform the VA’s delivery of service to veterans, it nonetheless notes its extreme concern with the Department’s systemic problems surrounding information technology projects,” the report said.
However, the report said the committee was pleased with the VA leadership's efforts to improve IT management. In particular, the committee report highlighted the VA’s new Program Management Accountability System that is designed to eliminate long-term program failures.