VA IT in the FY 2022 Budget Request
Published: June 23, 2021
VA is requesting nearly $8.5B for IT investments for FY 2022, down $607M from FY 2021 estimates.
VA is highly dependent on IT to fulfill its mission of serving the nation’s veterans. To support the department’s IT efforts, it is requesting nearly $8.5B for FY 2022. This amount is 6.7% less than the estimated totals for FY 2021. The decrease is due to inflated spending in FY 2021 for IT investments related to the pandemic, specifically IT investments for IT end user operations, which enabled mass telework.
The budget request includes $450M to support cybersecurity efforts, a 2.2% decrease over FY 2021 enacted levels. The request also advances VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program with $2.7B to continue implementation of the Cerner Millennium EHR solution and preceding IT infrastructure upgrades.
Top IT program investments are below:
Investments with the most Development, Modernization and Enhancement (DME) funding include IT End User Operations ($355M in DME) and IT Network Operations ($155M in DME). Investments showing the highest decreases in total funding include IT End User Operations (-$545M) and Supply Chain Management (-$102M).
VA plans acquisitions for 24 programs representing $7.9B (93%) of its total IT budget request. These acquisitions cover awards planned within the next 12 months, including awards for new contracts or awards to renew existing expiring contracts.
According to the VA FY2022 Budget Rollout Briefing and the VA Medical Programs and Information Technology Programs Budget details, IT totals $4.8B and EHRM totals $2.7B which combined totals $7.5B. Total IT investments for VA on the IT Dashboard equate to $8.5B. Not enough information is given in the detailed budget documents to determine the $1B difference between the sources.
In a June 8th hearing before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, VA Secretary Denis McDonough testified regarding the VA FY 2022 budget request. In his testimony, he highlighted three significant VA efforts that leverage technology to support service and medical care delivery to veterans: EHRM, VA Logistics Redesign (VALOR), and Financial Management Business Transformation (FMBT).
McDonough stated, “VA is undergoing one of the most comprehensive information technology (IT) infrastructure modernizations in the federal government, which will support seamless transition of health care information throughout an individual’s journey from military service to veteran status” in reference to the EHRM initiative. After Secretary McDonough took office, he ordered a 12-week strategic review of the program to ensure the success of future EHR deployments. The review will be completed within the coming weeks.
Secretary McDonough also testified that, “VA’s response to COVID-19 highlighted the shortcomings of the software and business practices supporting VA procurement, logistics and infrastructure operations, including a 50-year-old inventory system, separate procurement system and multiple stand-alone systems to manage property accountability, distribution and transportation.” For the VALOR program, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is adopting DOD’s successful software platform called the Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support (DMLSS) IT system to modernize and standardize its supply chain, property, health care technology and facility management business lines. The FY 2022 budget includes $299M for this effort.
VA’s FMBT program aims to increase the transparency, accuracy, timeliness, and reliability of financial and acquisition activities across the department. The FY 2022 budget includes $357M for FMBT, which recently rolled out the new Integrated Financial and Acquisition Management System (iFAMS) at the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) and the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA).
VA will continue to rely heavily on contractor support to fulfill its IT needs and requirements. Contractors should look for opportunities to support VA IT infrastructure modernization, automation, human-centered design, cybersecurity, and analytics initiatives.
For more information on the FY 2022 President’s Budget Request, please see Deltek’s report “FY 2022 Federal Budget Request: Priorities and Opportunities.”