Computer issues plague Spokane’s VA Medical Center, force shutdown

SPOKANE, Wash – One patient described it as chaos Thursday morning, as she logged in to her medical records and found someone else’s information.

By Thursday afternoon, the staff at the Mann-Grandstaff Medical Center wasn’t sure if her scheduled surgery Friday would continue. She said that staff at the hospital couldn’t pull up her records at all.

“People that you had an appointment with didn’t know basically why you were there,” she said. “They needed you to give them the information on why you were there.”

Prior to her visit, the Army veteran said when she logged into her VA portal to access her medical records, she found information that belonged to another veteran.

“I had his name, date of birth, his age and all my medical information was still there, but my name wasn’t there,” she said. “I panicked initially.”

In a statement sent to 4 News Now Thursday afternoon, the Department of Veterans Affairs explained that it was a problem with the company that provides the electronic health records.

The electronic health record (EHR) system used by Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, its associated community-based outpatient clinics and the West Consolidated Patient Account Center in Las Vegas, experienced a service outage March 3, 2022, due to an issue with patient demographic data.”

The response was to shut down the system altogether.

“In an abundance of caution, the EHR system was taken offline to prevent any impact to patient care areas. VA’s health care teams were notified and are following standard downtime procedures until the issue is corrected.”

4 News Now asked the Department of Veterans Affairs when that would be, but we have not yet heard back.

The veteran says she needs to get her surgery because it’s time-sensitive.

“It’s not right that we have to go through all this,” she said/

Problems have plagued the electronic health system at Mann-Grandstaff for quite some time.

Last July, the VA’s Inspector General wrote a report citing deficiencies related to training content and delivery. It made specific recommendations to improve workflow, tracking complaints and employee morale.

Just last month, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers called for the immediate delay of the rollout of this system for the Walla Walla VA Medical Center.