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By Debbie Gregory.

On May 17th, the Department of Veterans Affairs inked a 10-year, $10 billion contract with Kansas City, Missouri-based Cerner Corp. to adopt the same commercial electronic health records system as the Pentagon.

“President Trump has made very clear to me that he wants this contract to do right by both Veterans and taxpayers, and I can say now without a doubt that it does,” said Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie. He continued, “Signing this contract today is an enormous win for our nation’s veterans. It puts in place a modern IT system that will support the best possible health care for decades to come. That’s exactly what our nation’s heroes deserve.”

The department received nearly $800 million in funding from Congress for fiscal 2018 to begin the contract.

“For too long, service members transitioning from the Department of Defense to VA healthcare have been unable to take their medical records with them,” said Rep. Tim Walz, ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Cerner President Zane Burke said in a statement that the company is honored to have the opportunity to improve the health care experience for our nation’s veterans.

“The VA has a long history of pioneering health care technology innovation, and we look forward to helping deliver high-quality outcomes across the continuum of care,” said Burke. “We expect this program to be a positive catalyst for interoperability across the public and private health care sectors, and we look forward to moving quickly with organizations across the industry to deliver on the promise of this mission.”