VA will examine future of troubled financial project

The Veterans Affairs Department has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to scrutinize its troubled financial management project.

The firm will complete an evaluation of the Core Financial and Logistics System in about four months, department CIO Robert McFarland said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will take an accounting of VA's current financial status, determine what it will take to remove the material weaknesses it has in its financial systems and recommend how to proceed with the CoreFLS project.

BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., developed CoreFLS for VA. The system has suffered data conversion and interface problems, some of which led to substandard patient care and services at the VA hospital, according to inspector general findings.

VA pulled the plug on a pilot program designed to test the new $472 million financial management system at the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Fla. Bay Pines has reverted to using its previous financial management software.

"We found out that the implementation and integration that we were doing on that pilot was not going to work for us," McFarland said. "We then canceled the pilot and started looking at our environment much more in depth in hopes of coming away with a redesign that will implement a standardized system."

A review board headed by the CIO is examining the CoreFLS pilot program and the overall project to better modernize VA's financial and accounting processes. VA has a lot of work to do before it considers integrators to implement any system, McFarland said.

The department's IG has cited inadequate contracting and monitoring practices as a hindrance for CoreFLS deployment. Most of the VA legacy systems that must integrate with the new financial system contain inaccurate data because they have not been used properly, the IG reported in the fall.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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