Epic Systems Corp. has lost out on a five-year, $624 million contract that would have provided computer software for military veterans to have faster access to health care, according to a Feb. 2 Wisconsin State Journal story. The contract will now go to competitor Cerner Corp., which already holds “multibillion-dollar agreements to update the computerized health records programs for both active and retired military members” the story states.

The appointment scheduling contract with Epic and its partner, Leidos, was approved in 2015, but the “decision to scrap it was not unexpected,” the Journal’s Judy Newman reported, citing Epic spokesperson Meghan Roh.

A letter explaining the impending decision written Dec. 20 said the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs supported putting together a single electronic health record with elements like appointment scheduling but indicated members of Congress were “disturbed” some U.S. regions wouldn’t benefit from the software for “a decade,” the Journal story stated.

Leidos vice president for veterans health Will Johnson had predicted last year “the Epic/Leidos scheduling program could be rolled out throughout VA facilities within two years at a cost less than $350 million” or half the price of the five-year contract.

Epic told the Journal its system allows veterans to schedule their own appointments and has reduced wait times and no-show rates.

Roh told the Journal no decision was made on a possible appeal of the switch to Cerner, but Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner told Politico in March 2018 the company does not challenge such decisions.