Lucrative VA projects get 2012 funding OK

2012 omnibus budget brings millions to VA projects. Where's the money going?

The fiscal 2012 omnibus budget bill passed Dec. 17 includes more than $100 million more in IT funding for Veteran Affairs than the agency received in 2011.

A big winner was a joint Defense Department-VA effort for a digital medical record system, which received $73 million for development costs. In May 2011, the secretaries of the VA and DOD signed an agreement to deploy an Integrated Electronic Health Record rather than separately modernize their respective digital medical record systems.

In total, Congress approved $580 million for the VA’s IT development projects, including the medical record project.

Other VA projects funded in fiscal 2012 include $107 million for the Veterans Benefits Management System; $70 million for Veterans Relationship Management; $50 million for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record; and $48 million for health care access programs, such as telehealth, surgical quality and workflow management; and emergency department and systems.