DoD-VA seek $2.8 billion for health IT in 2011

By Peter Buxbaum
03:34 PM

Health IT programs figure prominently in the proposed fiscal year 2011 budgets of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs released yesterday, including some notable increases over last year.

DoD has requested a total of $1.5 billion for health IT in the 2011 budget, up from $1.4 billion this year. VA is asking for $1.3 billion for health IT in 2011, down from $1.4 billion in 2010.

The DoD budget request adds $300 million to support modernization of the department's electronic health record and medical IT infrastructure, including joint efforts with the VA to build a virtual lifetime electronic record (VLER). $52 million is specifically slated for the development of the VLER.

Development and deployment of the VLER has been identified as a high-priority performance goal for both departments. The VLER was initiated by President Obama in April 2009 and calls for the development of a system that will include comprehensive information on members of the armed services during the course of their military careers and after they leave the military.

"By FY 2012, the DoD will create the Next Generation of Electronic Record - Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record," said a budget document released by the department. "By 2011, DOD will implement VLER production capability in at least three sites." A similar pronouncement was made in a VA budget document.

VA has asked for $347 million for development and implementation of the HealtheVet electronic health record, the successor to Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA). The department also wants $145 million for a paperless claims processing system

The VA is budgeting $6.8 billion to expand long-term care servcies. Of that amount, $163 million is for home tele-health to improve veterans' access to care, up $42 million from 2010.

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