VA Secretary Bob McDonald learns more about VA’s scheduling system from Michael Logie, a medical support assistant at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. (REYNALDO LEAL/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
We know how important it is to get a modern scheduling system in the hands of our employees so they can better meet the needs of Veterans in getting access to care they deserve. We have tried to be as open and transparent about this effort as possible. To continue that openness, I wanted to take a moment to provide an update to the timeline laid out in our recent press release and correct the record on an important aspect of the deployment plan.
On Sept. 17, VA posted a Scheduling Performance Work Statement and business requirements documentation for industry review and comment. We did this so that we could receive industry feedback on our requirements (in addition to feedback already received through constant engagement with vendors over the last year or so), and also identify any inconsistencies or errors.
The comments were due on Sept. 26, and we’re going through an extensive amount of industry feedback at this time.
One thing you may have heard was that the system rollout date would take longer than originally stated. We’re glad our draft release gave us a chance to catch this portrayal of our deployment plan so that we can correct it before the plan is released. VA’s goal remains to select a vendor who can meet our aggressive deployment timeline of 2 years after contract award, in six month increments or less.
Because we have so much feedback to consider before we can lock down our requirements documentation and post the solicitation, some small adjustments to our aggressive contract deadline are necessary. We now believe our request for proposals will come out in October, with an anticipated award of January.
We have to do this right, and we have to do this quickly. We’re working this balance in coordination with industry, Veteran service organizations, Congress and other VA stakeholders. We’re committed to keeping you informed as we continue the process of acquiring and implementing a solution to help get our Veterans access to the healthcare they have earned and deserve.
Stephen W. Warren is the Executive in Charge and Chief Information Officer with the Office of Information and Technology at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.