Legislator Calls for Transparency Amid VA EHR Patient Safety Concerns

Technical issues with the EHR system at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane have put patient safety at risk.

Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) called for transparency at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane amid a growing number of patient safety concerns related to the facility’s EHR system.

In a letter to Robert J. Fischer MD, FACOG, CPE, medical director of Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, McMorris Rodgers outlined her concerns with the EHR rollout.

“It was recently reported in The Spokesman Review that the system has been partly or completely down more than 50 times since it was launched,” she wrote.

“This has led to hundreds of impacts on patient care, with veterans experiencing unacceptable care delays for critically needed treatment,” McMorris Rodgers said. “Veteran records have been deleted from the system, leading to lost prescriptions for crucial medications, appointment cancellations and delays, and other unacceptable lapses in veteran safety and care.”

Additionally, rumors across the community in recent weeks have led many providers and veterans to believe that inpatient services offered at the Medical Center were to be imminently reduced or eliminated, she pointed out.

“It was great to hear from you that there are no immediate plans to close or reduce inpatient services at Mann-Grandstaff,” McMorris Rodgers wrote. “It is imperative that the facility continues to offer a wide variety of much-needed inpatient and outpatient services for the men and women who have served our nation.”

She also emphasized the importance of reopening 24/7 urgent care at Mann-Grandstaff.

“We are now five months past the initial target date that Secretary McDonough announced for the reopening of 24/7 urgent care,” she wrote. “While I understand complications with COVID and the EHR modernization impacted that timeline, the incessant delays further undermine veterans’ confidence that they will have access to care when and where they need it most.”

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