Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., has been named chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization – a subcommittee that oversees big-ticket tech issues such as the agency’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program – and is wasting little time in targeting the program.

Last Congress, Rep. Rosendale served as the ranking member of the subcommittee when Democrats had control of the House. In that role, he urged the VA to address technical issues within the EHRM program, as well as consider completely pausing the program until all issues are addressed.

“I’m honored to serve veterans as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization,” said Rep. Rosendale. “As the son and brother of military veterans, I’m committed to ensuring that the VA’s technology meets the standard of care that our nation’s heroes deserve.”

The congressmen’s appointment comes just after he introduced a bill titled “To terminate the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

The full text of the bill is not yet available, but it’s title gives a good idea of the legislation’s aim.  Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., a strong opponent of the EHRM program, is a co-sponsor of the bill.

In July 2022 – following a new cost estimate of $39 billion for implementation of the EHR system over 13 years, and then $17 billion to maintain the system over 15 years – Rep. Bost called the VA program a “bad investment,” and said Congress may have to “seriously consider pulling the plug” on the project.

The VA made the decision in October 2022 to delay further deployments of its Oracle Cerner EHR system until June 2023 to address concerns with the system, assess performance, and ensure it functions effectively for veterans and VA healthcare personnel. This decision came after multiple other delays to certain deployments sites.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.