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Kuster Calls for New Veterans Health Administration Record System

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to scrap its current electronic health record system and adopt a commercial system.

Right now the VA uses a system called VistA, which the VA developed for itself. The VA has been trying for years to make it work seamlessly with the system used by the Department of Defense. That effort so far has failed. 

Kuster says starting from scratch with a commercial system is the way to go. She says using a commercial medical records system would work well with systems used by the Department of Defense and civilian hospitals. 

Kuster joined one fellow House democrat and two republicans in her letter urging VA Secretary David Shulkin to let go of VistA.

"Several decades ago it was a cutting edge program," she says, "but now it's outlived its functionality."

The Government Accountability Office said earlier this month that it sees no reason why the VA and the Department of Defense should use separate systems. 

The VA plans to present a plan to Congress on how to proceed this summer.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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