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Cincinnati VA Medical Center gets a visit from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary

Ann Thompson

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Donald M. Remy stopped at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center Friday to meet with patients and staff to discuss ways to improve care at the facility.

Remy was nominated by President Biden and sworn into his position in July of last year. During this time, Veterans Affairs has been attempting to implement a new electronic health record system for patients, but the process has had some setbacks.

In 2020, Veterans Affairs announced the launch of its modernized record system to allow clinicians and staff to access patient information in one universal software, rather than using multiple systems, as they had previously.

Almost two years later, the software has yet to be used at many VA facilities around the country, including Cincinnati.

"Once the system is rolled out and delivers the care that was intended to be delivered to our veterans, I think we'll be in a much better place. That's not where we are today," Secretary Remy said.

In June of this year, the VA announced that medical centers in Michigan and Ohio that were slated to begin using the new software would have their rollout dates pushed from the end of 2022 to spring 2023. Those dates were moved down the line a second time to June of 2023.

Remy cites the need to ensure quality care and veteran patient safety as the reason for the delays.

Cincinnati VA Medical Center Director Jane Johnson agreed with the decision to hold off on using the software.

"We are really aiming for zero harm and I am actually excited that there's a pause, to ensure that we're safe to move ahead," Johnson said. "I know these decisions are difficult to make to pause. But I think it's the right thing to do. And I'm proud that we're doing this."

While Cincinnati's VA Medical Center waits for the new electronic health record system to go live, Remy says Veterans Affairs will be focused on resolving issues with the software.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.