Is VA Misleading Veterans About ‘My HealtheVet’ Medical Records?

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My HealtheVet

Benjamin KrauseThe My HealtheVet VA Blue Button is BS. You do not get all your medical records despite VA’s claims on its website. You get whatever VA thinks you need to know and sometimes none of what you are looking for when it comes to C&P examination notes.

Veterans are being seriously misled by Veterans Affairs about how much of their own health care information they can access from the web portal My HealtheVet and VA Blue Button. While veterans are given the impression you can access all your records this way, it is not true.

You are probably not getting all your medical records if you rely on the My HealtheVet VA Blue Button option. Instead, you need to file a Release of Information records request or Privacy Act request for “any and all medical records.”

I personally compared the exact same entry comparing a VistA Progress Note to a My HealtheVet VA Blue Button VA Note. The VistA version was 1,739 words compared to 583 using VA Blue Button option. And, lots of adversarial information was excluded from the VA Blue Button option.

If you have relied on VA Blue Button for a full and accurate medical record, you are being fooled and given only a partial picture of your medical history. Read on to learn more.

Many, many veterans write in about what their VA Blue Button medical records include. They presume everything VA has on them is accessible through the VA Blue Button option if you have a “premium” account. They believe it because that’s basically what VA says in person and on the website, MyHealth.VA.gov. But when we get additional records using other methods, like a Privacy Act request, they get pretty pissed pretty fast.

RELATED: Sample Privacy Act / FOIA Request

Should we be surprised? Do you think VA ever wants you to know exactly what information they have gathered on us?

Due to this prolonged deception, I decide to do something to help dispel the myth. I used a real world example to figure out just how different my real records are from my VA Blue Button records using my own VistA records as an example.

VistA is the database VA uses to contain your full VA medical records. What I have learned is My HealtheVet gives us a very truncated version of those records and even contains inaccuracies never mentioned in VistA Progress Notes.

Here is how my audit went using my own records.

In particular, I selected a note where the medical records I received directly from the Minneapolis VA Medical Center contain numerous false, unscientific or misleading statements about a denial for health care services I received almost one year ago.

Here is some background on the issue in those notes.

VA wanted me to submit to yet another neuropsychological evaluation. My civilian psychiatrist believed it would be a waste of time and told me not to do it. VA demanded I submit but refused to explain what tests they would perform. As an attorney, I know this is bizarre, and I refused. VA then refused to help me even though the test results were only remotely related to the services I was seeking given the copious amounts of data VA already possesses about me.

During the audit, I conducted a side-by-side comparison of my medical records. The first were Progress Notes from VistA that I received following a Release of Information request in person. I then downloaded VA Notes from My HealtheVet VA Blue Button using my supposed “premium” account.

RELATED: How to use FOIA to get a copy of your records

When compared, the note I received using the Blue Button option contained 583 words. The same Progress Note from my Release of Information request contained 1,739 words.

Does something seem fishy about that to you?

When I looked at the specific differences, the note from My HealtheVet did not contain the derogatory comments from VA health care providers that were contained in the Progress Notes from my VistA records. The VA Blue Button also included comments about a “patient advocate” and “pain management.” These terms were no where to be found in the VistA Progress Note.

If I did not know about the derogatory and false statements, I would not know to appeal the errors using the Privacy Act. I further would not know to file a clinical appeal about the decision to not provide the services I requested.

According to MyHealth.va.gov., a veteran with a “premium” account is led to believe he or she will have access to “key portions of your VA health record” including VA Notes, VA Medical History, etc. The problem here is we let VA decide what the key portions are.

Making matters worse, VA is constantly working to erode our ability to access our own records. Back in October, VA decided to restrict our own access to Compensation & Pension evaluations after an exam. Only until sometime after VA decides your case will you have access to your own medical records.

Let’s keep in mind that medical records are your property and HIPAA law may weigh against VA’s current position to withhold those records. Only time will tell, but I hope someone challenges VA’s current position soon.

RELATED: Paranoid VA Officials Paint Veterans As Crazed Psychos

The key takeaway here is when you let VA decide what portions are “key portions,” VA will probably give you less information then you think. For that reason, you need to file a “Release of Information” with the facility where you get health care.

Have you ever been confused about your My HealtheVet medical records? What did you do to get a full copy of your file?

Disabled Navy Veteran
Disabled Navy Veteran
I went in person to the VAMC where I go to and got my medical record on a disc and they mailed it to me within five days, I brought it to my new civilian primary care doctor. When I returned for my follow up appt. my doctor said that with all of the pages printed out my medical records looked almost as big as the Encyclopedia Brittanica, all 32 volumes!:) Anyway I was referred to four clinics and have… Read more »
Irene Padilla
When going for any medical appt, get the printout of your medical records & go over them with who ever is typing them & then tell them to correct all of the errors at that point in real time. It may seem tedious at the time, but then you are the REAL KEEPERS of ALL of your medical records. The truth is always the hardest to tell.when someone else is writing out your medical data. When writing up patients complaints,… Read more »
Vicki
Vicki
When my husband came home from that ever popular WAR {Vietnam), was home a week when his dad took hm to the VA hospital. He would do guard duty at night, with gun and all. The family was terrified if he got upset over something in the news or someone said at work, etc. He could not keep a job, or a relationship, and most of his family wanted nothing to do with him. He would not talk with anyone… Read more »
Don Karg
Don Karg
04/06/2015 Dear Benjamin Krause, I am sure “neuropsychological evaluation” would provide the evidence the VA [the Congress/the Senators/the President/ HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell/VA Secretary Bob McDonald (put a name on the face), and the ever changing DOD Secretary] needs to explain away their sabotage of the Manage Structure at the Hospitals and Clinics during this “5 Alarm Fire.” And to add the “patient advocate” and “pain management” into the mix is part of their Master Plan to give everyone a… Read more »
figure8fan
Every one of us should be getting your medical records in a hard copy form. NEVER trust the “blue button”. Why do you think that there is a hold on the information you can receive. As Ben is saying, you may not get all of your information and I will say that you will not get all of your information. If you trust the VA enough to only get the online version then you will never find out what the… Read more »
james m. hanrahan
james m. hanrahan
Hi my fellow VA heaters and Government distrusters we ( please for give my spelling ) have done their work they sent us to do and they return in to us the VA which makes us find paper work that don’t have to be added to our records again because they are part of our mil.records we had give hte government the ok to send them to make their ok on our problem from our service for them. Oh by… Read more »
L Peterson
L Peterson

The same thing is happening to me in Texas after a move from Wisconsin. (My records here only state chronic pain and nothing about the liteny of physical and mental detriments that are on record from the doctors in Wisconsin and NJ WRIISC.) The system has since taken away my caregiver and “graduted” me from the program. I could really use a lawyer.

caliwebman
caliwebman
I’m really tired of all the bullshit, am sitting here in chronic pain still from being completely cold turkeyed off my pain meds that had been prescribed to me for many years, ended a really good patient/doctor relationship I had with my doc of 18+ years because her hands are tied due to shit policy’s, and growing more tired and pissed by the day. Why don’t we all just form up, call ourselves back into service, a public service force… Read more »
Danny Toliver
Danny Toliver
caliwebman, I agree with you 100%, lets do it… Good Evening my fellow Veterans, My name is Danny Toliver, I am a 100% Disabled-Veteran Marine. I have been following Ben’s blog for approx. 4 years now and his blog is very informative. I am deeply sadden that many of my fellow Veterans including my a father a Veteran whom have paved the way for many of us to become Veterans and we have the Department of Veterans Affairs treating us… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
I’ve been wondering about this for some time. How do vets fix the VA. Each VA should have meeting facilities. Can vets reserve using a VA conference or meeting room? What if vets did so, and met once a month to hear from other vets about problems within that hospital, then took those problems to the Chief of Staff. Everything in writing, with action required within 30 days. How fast do you think local VA’s would get cleaned up if… Read more »
daniel newman
daniel newman

I think it is time that we the veterans file a class action lawsuit and forced our rep talking about our congressman and senators to back us up or face federal charges for failing to rep us . this is a sad day when the v.a can tell our congressman and senators what to do when to do it and how to do it.

james
I have been saying that the VA puts what they want into the records Miss statements, Out of context, repeating other notes that are not true or right out lies. If you do get your whole file and find the errors, they will not remove them and state those were the “FACTS” reported at the time and if you think they are wrong then you can write what you think it should say and they will place it into your… Read more »
1-2-3 What are we fighting for?
1-2-3 What are we fighting for?
Staff personel screen all of McDonalds email now because he gets tons. I’ll bet a lot of money he isn’t being told 70% of the problems these people screen. Most of the incoming emails are very unclear and poorly written, and these screeners don’t give a crap anyway. I’ll bet he never figured how bad the VA really is when he first took the job. He’s also mostly busy trying to find young doctors graduating from med schools around the… Read more »
G Raymond Raulerson
Ben: I have been “preaching” this since the inception of the eBenefits program (I used to be a Veterans Advocate for a national Veterans Service Organization and was told that I was being a, shall we politely say, pain). Not only was I preaching that you don’t get all of your medical records but that those of us who have records predating the beginnings of VistA (Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture) Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS)/ the Compensation… Read more »
Irene Padilla
How much is a life worth? There are at least several million private citizens that were hurt on the job. that do not get medial or disability payments. They end up on SSA & Medicare. Their medical records are altered form the start BUT they will get SSA benefits & medicare for the work injuries that the employer denies. Wo are these doctors that write up or alter reports, they’re military doctors. I ask, what is a life worth because… Read more »
stanman47
stanman47
You said a bunch and very little is true. Nothing is predetermined in matters of individual ratings. That is one of the most ridicuous assertions I have ever seen or heard. Why do people comment her as if they were speaking factually instead of just, or primarily, to hear themselves talk or get agreement from other like-minded vets. I won’t begin to dismantle your ramblings. Please, everyone, talk about what you know and ask questions, then listen to what you… Read more »
Sabrina
Sabrina
Irene needs to SHUT UP. I realize that the us healthcare is controversial to some, but getting healthcare to A VETERAN is usually more crucial than getting healthcare to someone who works at wendy’s or pizza hut and got hot fries spilled on themselves. This is a site for veterans, or people close to them, so go find some other website to bitch on. Once you’ve been in the military, maybe your opinion may count. But you don’t know what… Read more »
BMcL
BMcL
Stanman47… Sorry to have to disagree, but Irene ‘hit it on the head’ with her post. The bottom line is, that the DVA is indeed constantly attempting different ways to falsely mislead the Veteran (including YOU). Not only am I a disabled Veteran, but I did work at the DVA. Sabrina… The last time I looked, we are STILL in America! What gives you the right to chastise Irene in the way you did? Doesn’t she have a right to… Read more »
John
John
When I look at my Blue Button VA Notes, my VA therapist’s notes are pretty skimpy and most times they are word for word from my last visit. I typically go to the Request of Information office and the printout that they give me is word for word. The thing is, I tell my VA therapist all kinds of new stuff at every visit and he is constantly writing, but none of it ever winds up in my VA Notes.… Read more »
Irene Padilla
THERE ARE NO REGULATIONS ON the internet. Any one can write anything, (just like ISIS) get away with anything.& there are no protections whatsoever. AND yet we’re all encouraged to use only the internet even TO PAY OUR BILLS, WHAT A FRAUD THAT IS… A complete & ONGOING breeding ground for fraud & corruption & certainly no accountability or responsibility. Case in point, Hillary’s emails on a private PC for govt work. One can write up anything & there is… Read more »
jon willson
jon willson

totally agree with every word of the main entry

Irene Padilla
You all may want to know why I comment on this blog. It is because what happens to vets happens to injured or ill workers. In Downey CA. a movie studio was finally leveled. The owner, Stuart Lichter, a former GSA employee, was able to build on a brownfield site , then called a superfund site. A brownfield, is a toxic site & this particular site had over 250 deadly toxins -, some of which was, chromium hexolate, depleted uranium,… Read more »
Victoria Gaskins
Victoria Gaskins
Thank you! For everyone’s comments. And thank you Ben! I will be going to file a release of information, records request for any and all medical records…in person. I’ve been seen at 3 different facilities. One facility on one region, the other 2 in the same region. I did request and receice on disc, from one facility in the one zone. The other zone mailed all records as hard copy, so I will resubmit for it on disc. And I… Read more »
figure8fan
Victoria, I try to get an update of my records every other month if I have had appointments within that timeframe. This keeps my records fresh and in my opinion, helps to keep the VA from getting into my records and removing whatever they want. Some people think this is too often but I don’t trust the VA at all so I will continue to get them until I quit using the VA. Good luck in getting your records as… Read more »
Victoria Gaskins
Victoria Gaskins
I was a medic in the AF, so, before I discharged, I had copies made of my AD records. I have those in hand. The ones I’m probably screwed on are the ones from the one facility I really need them from. Who knows if they included everything? I did request everything, but they can and sounds like they do leave some things out. I did request and receive them on disc. But only dated 3/2012-1/2013. But, who knows what’s… Read more »
figure8fan

Victoria, little off topic but if you have a service connected disability and do not have your C-file, get that as well. That file can have things in it that may not appear in your medical records or have been removed from your medical records. You will also most likely find things in your C-file that are wrong as well.

just another jarhead in SJ, CA
just another jarhead in SJ, CA
When I left the Mens Trauma (ptsd) program in Menlo Park, CA in 2013, I made a point to go to ROI and get an inch and a half thick stack of my medical notes. And now, now annually I do the same. I’m accustomed to having medical evidence deleted. Back in 1991 when my recon unit (A Co. 3rd Recon 3rd Mar, if there are any brothers on this blog) were coming back from the gulf, I very Specifically… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
When I was in the Gulf, one of my additional duties was overseeing all of my units medical requirements…getting them to sick call, doling out over-the-counter meds, knowing hospitalization or medevac status, etc. From the very first soldier I took on sick call, we took our own carbon paper and blank paper. I was told the hospital unit clerk we maintained our own records, and if we couldn’t get originals, we wanted copies. Every single one was happy to either… Read more »
caliwebman
caliwebman
Check this out, since no leadership within the U.S. has the balls to come right out and state the truth of the matter we must look to leaders outside our nation who are bringing on the truth. In this particular case I turn our attention to former Canadian Acting PM and Minister of Defense Paul Hellyer. Albeit he goes a bit far and too deep for me in some of his comments a good 70% of his comments are SPOT… Read more »
Albert Halseara

This is good… now veterans can get their medical records easily ans no need to go here and there.

Richard Donegan
I tried three times to get my records from the VA. I got different ones each time I tried. Finally, I purchased Ben’s ‘VA Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans’ and, because of the info in it, I sent a FOIA (Freedom of Information) request. It took two months but they finally sent me a CD containing 1396 pages. It became abundantly clear that the VA had access to all my records when I put in my previous three requests… Read more »
Be True

I don’t know what you are doing, but every time I have requested my records from the VA they all came back the same, and complete at that. Identical.
Vietnam Vet

Kesha W
Kesha W
I noticed this previously when I was filed a claim last year. I thought I was crazy…because I knew I had a doctor’s appt within a month’s time and did not see it at all in the records from MyHealthEVet. Someone definitely needs to bring this to the attention of our legislatures to update the system so you can have access to all your records. It has been a pain asking the VA for my medical records and waiting….or even… Read more »
John Downing
John Downing
I received my records from Tuscaloosa VA and found so many lies and half truths, I actually hard a panic attack. Most of what was given to me seemed to be aimed at making sure my claim would fail. After my first heart attack in 1999, and consequent chest pains on a daily basis, there wasn’t one mention of me having chest pains. Somehow all reference was omitted. I was informed by one Doctor that if I made waves, I… Read more »
Still Around
Still Around

@ Richard Donegan. THAT is exactly how I got all of my medical records from the NRPC. It took 20 years. I still don’t think I have them all because some staffers only copied “A” sides of double sided paper. If i had just accepted the first batch I’d be screwed.

asknod
You strike a sore chord, Ben. I requisitioned my VistA records after my one-year staycacation at the Seattle VAMC and they made for very interesting reading. I doubt any of it would surface in MHVet-ever. The Heparin OD @ 2230 hrs followed by two pints of whole blood in October 2009 was news to me. I guess the dilaudid blunted my senses. The EEG showing the myocardial/septal infarct in July 2009? Again, news to me. VA said the T-wave abnormality… Read more »
Ray D
Ray D
I got my med records on hard copy multiple times…but the ones I got yesterday, not only don’t match the “Blue Button” copies, but out of the 1732 pages supposedly generated over 2 1/2 years, all but 355 pages are the same C&P exam copied five times, and one pulmonology report 3 times. I’ve only been able to get 5 appointments in three years, each has about 4 pages…the rest, filler to make the file thick. And, in the C&P… Read more »
Dina Padilla
Dina Padilla
When us civilians are evaluated by so called medical examiners, they charge to recopy previous records and also delete with every subsequent report your injuries and illnesses, a little here and there but in the end, it’s your word against theirs and as with all insurance benefits, any one who makes a claim is viewed by indoctrinated insurance cults, that we’re all liars, malingerers and frauds. ALL INSURANCE Accutarie’s/Bean counters, for the dod and all other gov’t/corporations, GET PAID TO… Read more »
James
It’s not just claims a doctor put in my official medical record veteran was stabbed while in the military, i was not stabbed in the military and wrote to the patient advocate and told them these types of errors could cause a veteran to go to jail for false reporting, they did not reply, they all ready made a false statement about me being disruptive on numerous occasions, they did reply to that stating those were the facts at the… Read more »
V. Neyon
I have read the comments and can say that I don’t feel alone anymore. It is a sad day when people are not treated fairly in any capacity. However, to serve your country and have legitimate claims once you have completed your obligation only to be mistreated when you seek assistance from those who are set in place to help; well, it’s a huge slap in the face. I am a female vet who served in 82nd Airborne Division (combat… Read more »
D.LaRae
Now, I am one that believed that you better make sure you’re charting exactly right because laws on medical records is extremely serious business, so I know always how to get what I want, and I do it with pure kindness. Understand those who work in that department really do have a big job, but what I do not understand that there is no reviews what so ever like other facilities have to abide by? If you decide to quote… Read more »
D.LaRae
ASKNOD? How in the heck did someone do a Heparin O.D.? Now that one drug I just will say the “D ONE,” oh bad memories! Puking my guts out! ( just in time for my spine doctor who happens to not like projectile human stomach contents? Six drugs and out I went, I am sensitive to many drugs!) were you actually in a hospital or were these nurses aides giving out drugs? If your heart rhythm is off, replace the… Read more »
Jim
Jim

I think the bottom line is all us vets just want to be a part of society and make a living. Do we have our particular issues? Yes! But the VA must keep an eye out for the “Sick Call Riders”. (Who, btw, made me disgusted when I was in service)

Regardless of all the medical records see and unseen, the only thing the VA will be good at is compensation. I will handle the problems on the outside.

James
You would fit in perfect working for the va, always looking at veterans as scammers always trying to make the veteran a conartist faking their injuries, what makes you qualified to determine that a veteran is faking. Their are employees that think this way and play God, this type of thinking just hurts the veteran. I can just see you behind a desk at the va saying oh another faker file 13 his records, that will teach him from faking… Read more »
Vic
Vic
I agree that malingering (“Sick Call Riders”) were not appreciated in the military, and was not tolerated…HOWEVER, this is not the military. I wrote in a different forum, and I’ll share it here, and that is we are being subjected to ‘military medicine’ by the VA. In the Navy the corpsman nicknamed it ‘Treat’m and Steet’m). I’d venture to say that most of those seen at the VA are not faking, how the hell would want to risk their life?… Read more »
James

What part!

Jim
Jim

One more comment, I do think it is totally weird that the government has been taking from me all my life and then turns around and compensates me when they can’t take anymore. The whole thought about disability is a strange concept. It should be used to supplement you while you try to get back on your feet, but what it does end up doing is compensates you to STAY disabled.

James
Some of are disabled and will be for the rest of our lives permanent disability such as ptsd and traumatic brain injury. The problem is the va does everything they can not to give you disability in a timely manner, so veterans can get the needed treatment as soon as possible. Not hide their records for fourty years, when they do this they make the veteran suffer and many can’t cope with the stress and end their lives and for… Read more »
Casey B
Casey B
One thing I’ve not seen discussed anywhere is how the VA establishes its reference ranges for laboratory results. Just to give you an example: I’m a 33 year old male exhibiting several symptoms of hypogonadism (low testosterone). When I was able to finally convince my VA doctor to take labs, my total testosterone came in at 243 ng/dL. The NIH cites 250 – 1100 ng/dL as the normal range (most others appear to set the lower limit around 300). But… Read more »
Vic
Vic
Casey, I have gone round with the VA on this VERY topic, and they stand by a study of 68,000 people that is ‘flawed’ as stated in a peer review writeup. If you search ‘testosterone by age’ you’ll find plenty of information, however getting the VA to recognize science is another matter. My record was flagged, in part, because my testosterone was at 234, when 550 should be where I’m at. Saw a private endocrinologist who without hesitation put me… Read more »
James

Hello, Vic what do you mean by your records were flagged.?

Vic
Vic
James, sorry, I just noticed I didn’t answer your question about my record being flagged. My medical record was flagged because I was found to be a ‘disruptive’ patient. Or in reality, was asking for quality care from a trained medical professional. Read the report on Disruptive Patients handling by Office of Inspector General: http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-11-02585-129.pdf Then, if you haven’t read the directive: http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=2341 According to the directive here is the definition of a ‘disruptive patient’, and it doesn’t have to… Read more »
James
I just hope someone does something to stop them from hurting veterans, IT does NO good to punish veterans just because they can! Instead of listening to the veterans, They let their ego get in the way and go to the extreme! They seem not to realize what this does to the veterans and their families! This is not a game and they are not only hurting the veterans, They are giving the department a black eye! How many veterans… Read more »
Vic
Vic
Dina Padilla
Dina Padilla
Some of our many patients were military, where many of them had illnesses like others outside of the military and or just as their family members had. I worked in both the hospital and clinic prior to Kaiser as well. My reason for writing on this blog is to let you all know, that the care you are getting is based on the kaiser model. where making money at any cost is the goal, Kaiser is run by military or… Read more »
Leona
Leona
What u r saying is true. The ssa rushed my claim through their system. They were going to pay me but I never knew amount. I am fortunate because my family has the means to help me. When it finally occurred to me what was really going on; I called them. Told them no way I am taking money that belongs to the elderly. They worked for it. I am 100% disabled and did file a claim for compensation in… Read more »
Dina Padilla
Dina Padilla
Leona. btw, I always liked the name Leona. We as injured workers are offsetted by at least half of what we should get from employers and then again for having dependents which left me receiving 585.00 per month rather than about 1400.00 that I was supposed to get from the employer plus medical care and voc rehab. Myself and many others did not get anything from the employer. From what the SSA started out with was 1541,00 per month according… Read more »
Stephen Braswell
I am a disabled Vet, US Army, drafted in 68-70 and served in South Vietnam, with the 9th Inf. at Dong Tam, at the southern end of Nam. We were sprayed with Agent Orange and were told it was a bug killer, it smelled like diesel fuel. It wasn’t until around 1978 that I joined a class action suit for Agent Orange, I was sent to Winston Salem and Durham NC for several years. Back then the VA said that… Read more »
James
It’s good to hear things went well. We all know that there Are employees that do care about us veterans, it’s the bad apples that need to be thrown out! And it would go a long way, if VA employees stand up for the veterans and denounce the wrongs committed by upper management middle management against veterans, bet many employees fear retaliation or fear of loosening their jobs, some have no choice! Still I think many would if they are… Read more »
Vic
Vic

Dina Padilla, your post was a good read, and yes, EVERYONE needs to wake up before we all have lost all our rights.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Dina Padilla
Dina Padilla
Vic, thank you for that.The truth is the hardest to believe, especially when we live in a country called America and that the medical arena is not what it once was but a profit making business and we’re the products to buy and sell.. It gives me no pleasure to tell it. It’s just more painful than anything else having to realize and tell it to help our brothers and sisters. Thank you again and hopefully soon more people wake… Read more »
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