The Department of Veterans Affairs' $3.5 billion plan to modernize computer operations at its hospitals will fail without substantial changes, according to an evaluation by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, the St. Petersburg Times reported. The researchers, working for the VA, said the project was "not viable" and an "unacceptably high risk." They cited management issues and an inadequate evaluation of risks and alternatives among other problems, according to the Times. The VA abandoned a smaller project last year after determining it would not work, at a cost to taxpayers of $265 million. Separately, a proposal in the Senate to increase funding for VA hospitals by $2 million was defeated 54-46 in a vote largely along party lines.
In other Washington news, the White House said President Bush will nominate HHS General Counsel Alex Azar II, 37, as the agency's deputy secretary. Azar also has been a partner at Wiley Rein & Fielding, Washington, and a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.