VA, DoD care facility in Chicago faces additional delays, expenses

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According to a report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) in Chicago continues to experience financial and healthcare IT difficulties, which has resulted in additional expense to the $122 million project.

The facility, developed under a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), has suffered from lengthy delays to the implementation of healthcare IT, which has driven costs beyond initial expectations. VA and DoD officials have not yet provided an estimate of when the work will be completed, nor how much the additional work will cost.

The report also found that officials in charge of the project do not currently have the capability to accurately track the progress of the healthcare IT initiative.

Recommendations outlined by the GAO included the identification of potential costs associated with the delays; the development of plans with clear definitions, specifications and deliverables of healthcare IT requirements; the implementation of an assessment and evaluation system to ensure work continues on schedule; and the introduction of measures to assess the cost-effectiveness of project goals.

“Without VA and DoD agreement on the measures and standards, FHCC leadership is unable to track progress and make any midcourse adjustments to improve performance in areas VA and DoD have determined are necessary for FHCC’s success,” read the report.

According to Federal Computer Week, the FHCC facility will consist of 53 buildings, including a major ambulatory care center that will serve veterans, members of the military on active duty and the families of servicemen and women. The FHCC will also house an advanced pediatrics center.

Although details of the FHCC’s healthcare IT architecture have not yet been confirmed, some experts speculate that the facility will make use of the DoD and VA’s integrated electronic health record system, a medical informatics network spanning numerous care facilities across the country.