VA Confident in EHRM Despite Reported Oracle Cerner Layoffs

Recent layoffs at Oracle Cerner are reportedly due to challenges the EHR vendor has faced with the $10 billion VA EHR modernization (EHRM) project.

A top Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official is confident Oracle Cerner will deliver on the EHR modernization (EHRM) program despite reported layoffs at the company, according to reporting from Nextgov.

Last week, Oracle reportedly laid off hundreds of employees and pulled job offers within its Cerner healthcare unit. The layoffs are allegedly due, in part, to challenges the vendor has faced in implementing the VA’s EHR system.

Nextgov/FCW obtained a June 20 email from a Cerner physician-executive who said “the entire clinical team from Oracle Cerner was eliminated,” including “clinicians who have years of experience in leadership, technology, population health management, data analytics, and bread and butter EHR implementation.”

However, in an emailed statement to Nextgov/FCW, Neil Evans, MD, acting program executive director of the VA EHRM Integration Office, said VA leadership maintains confidence in the vendor’s path forward for the implementation.

“VA leadership remains fully committed to the success of the department's EHR modernization program,” Evans wrote.

“VA expects any contractor to provide the appropriate levels of talent and expertise to deliver on their contractual commitments, and our expectations for Oracle Cerner are no different,” he added. “VA will continue to work with Oracle Cerner to ensure the system is fully operational and that user support and system optimization efforts proceed unimpeded.”

The EHR, which VA first launched at Spokane's Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in October 2020, has presented a series of problems. VA officials have confirmed that system deficiencies contributed to more than 150 cases of harm and four veterans' deaths.

In May 2023, VA renegotiated its $10 billion EHR contract with Oracle Cerner to include stronger performance metrics and larger financial penalties.

"VA has reached an agreement on a modified contract with Oracle Cerner to deliver the high-functioning, high-reliability, world-class electronic health record that Veterans deserve," the department said in a press release at the time of the announcement.

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