TAMPA, Fla. – The Department of Veterans Affairs (search) said Tuesday it is scrapping a hospital's troubled new computer system because of problems that have delayed surgeries, prompted congressional investigations and led to the resignation of several top officials.
The agency is phasing out Bay Pines VA Medical Center's use of the computer system called the Core Financial and Logistics System (search), Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi said in a statement.
The system was in use at the hospital as a pilot project to see how it worked before it was expanded to the rest of the VA system nationwide.
Principi said Bay Pines (search) will return to its previous computer system in October. A committee of senior VA officials will make recommendations about the program's future, he said.
An agency spokesman said he could not say whether any money spent on the failed system would be recovered. The total project was to have cost $472 million.
The computer system was installed last fall at Bay Pines as the first test site. Bay Pines is the fifth busiest hospital in the VA system and officials later conceded they never should have tested the system there.
Hospital employees were not fully trained in the system, and difficulty in using it led to suppliers not being paid, a shortage of surgical supplies and delays for some operations.
Five VA officials, including the hospital's chief of staff, have quit or been reassigned since February due to problems at Bay Pines.
Florida Sen. Bob Graham (search), who held hearings on the computer system at the hospital in March, was angered by the outcome, the St. Petersburg Times reported in Tuesday's editions.
"At a time when VA's health care system is stretched to the limit, it is outrageous — simply outrageous — to waste millions upon millions of dollars on a failed computer system," he said.
Congressional investigators found the company awarded the contract for the system, BearingPoint, was paid more than $200,000 as an incentive bonus for keeping the Bay Pines computer project on schedule even though employees were not properly trained to use it. BearingPoint officials declined to comment Tuesday.