Judge dismisses suit challenging VA’s EHR contract with Cerner

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The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has dismissed a legal complaint attempting to prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from awarding a sole source contract to Cerner to replace the VA’s legacy EHR.

Although Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby’s opinion remains under seal, her October 18 judgment was made publicly available.

“Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” states the decision, granting defendant (United States) and defendant-intervenor (Cerner) motions to dismiss.

CliniComp International, a San Diego-based EHR vendor, filed the lawsuit seeking “declaratory and injunctive relief” to stop the VA no-bid contract to Cerner to replace the agency’s legacy Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA).

Specifically, the company’s complaint called the VA’s decision “arbitrary, capricious” and “an abuse of discretion” that violates the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) of 1978 and federal acquisition regulations.

Also See: Vendor lawsuit alleges VA contract award to Cerner violates law

VA officials were not immediately available for comment on the court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s action. However, CliniComp said it would appeal the decision.

“We respectfully disagree with the judge’s decision to not rule on the merits of the case,” said Chris Haudenschild, CEO of CliniComp, in a written statement. “We will appeal this decision, because the health of millions of veterans and billions of taxpayer dollars is at stake. CliniComp simply wants the chance to prove that it can do the job cheaper, faster, and better.”

The company has 60 days to file an appeal.

“We look forward to working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve our nation’s veterans. Given the ongoing nature of litigation, we don’t have further comment,” said Cerner in a written statement.

In June, the VA announced that it plans to replace its decades-old VistA system with the same Cerner Millennium EHR platform that the Department of Defense is currently implementing.

When VA Secretary David Shulkin made the announcement, he said the decision to award the sole source contract to Cerner was made because of the “urgency and the critical nature” of the decision and that the agencydecided that there is a public interest exception to the requirement for full and open competition in this technology acquisition.”

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