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Does anyone know what are they talking about?  VA has a comprehensive, free software medical records system that has important commercial developers.  Is this "scheduling system" not part of that medical records system?  

Something really stinks about the Secretary's statement.  It's like a COTS nightmare from 30 years ago, where good public domain software will be replaced with junky vendor software.  

/***** VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said “This contest marks a major change in direction by VA, away from software that is so customized that only VA can use it, toward open standards and commercial systems that build on proven practices. The competition will help us serve veterans by encouraging ideas to provide more personalized care.” *******/
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I see they have been having problems with their benefits management software and a claims backlog.  The company, "Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic", is called "controversial.  Perhaps because the L3 affiliated company, botched the patient scheduling system back in 2009. They are still part of the scheduling program effort.  

In a follow-on August 2009 report on engineering work SPAWAR Atlantic was commissioned to do on a replacement for a botched patient scheduling application, the IG said, “We do not believe this to be a viable solution because our review of the SPAWAR contract found that most of the work was being performed by contractors, not SPAWAR government employees.”
Sorry, but wrong. I was involved here and the VA really wants to do the right thing. It's radical. And ambitious. The current system is a nightmare of not really interoperable systems with heavy lock-in problems. They want to move to a fully open solution. This is a good thing. 
Thanks, +Jan Wildeboer, that's the kind of answer I was looking for.  Does this have anything do do with VisTA?  
Is "Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic" still a part of the project?
Oh yes, it's all about vista. Cannot disclose all details here in public. It's a bit complicated. But they are really hardcore about doing it right. Ignore the blah of politicians ;-)
Records management and scheduling are really different problems, though it's always nice if the two systems can work with each other in an integrated way.
From what I've seen in VISN7, they are looking for a GUI for the scheduling. VistA is a Mumps program, all command-line interface. There is no GUI of any kind. Many people argue about that, but VistA is command-line. There is another program developed to work on top of VistA called CPRS. CPRS is a GUI that interfaces with VistA through the VistA RPC. It handles most of the patient visit stuff like entering vitals and labs. It does not do scheduling or billing. Now, to make things more complicated, there is not a single VistA. Each VISN is allowed to developer their own version of VistA along with their own version of CPRS. So, if you download the free version of VistA, you will not have what is actually used inside of any specific VISN. Also, you will not have CPRS because that is not part of VistA. In the end, this is a request to get people to develop GUIs for the VistA RPC. I've seen some web apps developed. I've worked extensively with CPRS. I've also seen a lot of work on extracting data from VistA into an Oracle-based data repository. I believe the goal is to remove the visibility of VistA from the users by placing a multitude of GUIs around it. In the end, they could easily have web apps, phone apps, or even an automated telephone interface: Press 1 for your schedule. Press 2 for your last lab results. Press 3 for...
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