Department of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin: Modernizing technology a top priority

U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin rolled out a new effort on Monday to overhaul the VA’s Electronic Health Record system to improve coverage for veterans.

“Technology is becoming so important to the way we manage all of our decisions, especially health care," Shulkin said during an appearance on the FOX Business Network. "So we want to make sure that veterans have the very best technology that’s available and modernizing our information technology is really at the top of our list.”

The VA is teaming with the Department of Defense to adopt the same EHR system, which Shulkin says will result in all patient data existing in one system.

“We are putting the veterans’ needs first and we are really re-designing this organization to make sure that it works for veterans,” he said. “You’re seeing two big parts of the federal government, the two biggest agencies, in fact, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs working together unlike ways that they have before.”

President Trump praised the move in a tweet, saying the decision is one of the biggest wins for our veterans in decades.

Despite efforts to cut wait times and expand private care, Shulkin said in The State of The VA Report released last week the agency is “still in critical condition." He said the VA is looking to the Senate that will be voting on an accountability bill.

“As secretary I need the authority to make sure that we have the right leadership in place,” he said, adding that they will also look at improving the appeals process. “Veterans are waiting too long to get decisions,” he said.

They are also looking to Congress to make sure there is a program to allow veterans to get care outside of the VA in the private sector.