DOD has embarked on a novel partnership with Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration to share medical data electronically, even as lawmakers continue to criticize the Pentagon for slow-rolling electronic record sharing with the VA. How this pilot project, which a Pentagon statement says will be run by the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Regional Health Information Organization, will sit with disgruntled lawmakers still is unknown, but lawmakers on both the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees have complained about the pace of collaboration between DOD and VA. Last week, Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) said one of his subcommittees has “examined systematic difficulties in the sharing of electronic health information, failure to implement effective patient tracking programs, and a lack of urgency to address and correct these shortcomings.” His counterpart in the Senate, Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), declared at his latest hearing on collaboration between the two departments: “We have entered the fifth year of this war. I cannot help but wonder why so many things are still being planned, still being discussed. Why is it that DOD and VA still can not make the handoff of wounded servicemembers more effective?”
Top lawmakers on Capitol Hill announced Dec. 2 that they have reached a deal to extend the continuing resolution funding the government into February. Now, the House and Senate will have to scramble to pass the legislation by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 3 to avoid a temporary shutdown.