patient privacy violations

Patient privacy violations were highest at Veterans Affairs and CVS Health based on the number of federal citations, according to a new report.

In response, VA said the agency “takes veteran privacy and the privacy of medical or health records very seriously.” But despite its “very” serious approach to patient privacy, VA tied CVS for the most privacy complaints that resulted in corrective action plans or “technical assistance” from US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2011 to 2014.

How can we continue to believe VA when it continues to have problems in protecting veteran privacy? Why is this always an issue for the agency; is it because of the sheer number of patients or is there something more going on?


ProPublica received the information through a Freedom of Information Act request covering the years between 2011 to 2014; the latter was the most recent year data on patient privacy violations was available.

In addition to the above citations, the nonprofit journalism organization also found:

  • In 2014, HHS received more than 17,000 complaints, as well as tens of thousands of self-reported breaches of medical information.
  • Some providers inadvertently, or in some cases deliberately, shared patients’ medical information without their permission.
  • The top five categories of complaints in 2014 were impermissible uses and disclosures, safeguards, administrative safeguards, access and technical safeguards.

What do you want to bet VA beat out CVS in the “deliberately” sharing of patient data category?

Each year, VA says it “takes veteran privacy” very seriously. We are asked to trust the agency. Still, VA continues to receive these dubious citations each year.

Why is it still an issue?


Is it possible that VA does take privacy seriously on a corporate level but repeatedly fails to follow through with the mission by holding violators accountable?

My best guess is that these persistent privacy problems have more to do with lower level medical professionals not following the law while higher-level executives refuse to hold them accountable.

Maybe this makes it a two-fer kind of betrayal of the public trust and why VA continues to top the charts in patient privacy violations.


I will state this again: My first “VAMC Intake visit” some years ago, while in an examination room with a very rough around the collar Nurse Ratched asking very private and sensitive medical and personal questions….with the door wide-assed open behind her and when I *politely asked* her to close the door for privacy reasons, she produced a female “Grinch Face” with an evil grin that lit-up her face like a kid on Christmas morning and said to me, “YOU… Read more »
The VHA should come out with their very own breakfast cereal brand knockoff and called it, “VA Lucky Stars”, with a brand mascot of a VA Unicorn with McDuck’s face, shooting those lucky stars from it’s behind into magical marshmallow shapes of deception called VA Lies. “Veterans are always trying to steal our Lucky Stars!! They’re magically delicious!!” NOW in special “VBA Murphy Agent Orange Flavor” for Halloween and that permanent Joker Smile for years of fun. Collect box tops… Read more »
From Ben’s article, I quote: “[The VA said: “VA takes veteran privacy and the privacy of medical or health records very seriously.]” Anyone find it odd that the VA makes a point in it’s limited statement and words to differentiate “Medical or Health Records” in that spin? Is that not an oxymoronic spin and to what purpose? Is there a way they can for instance, reclassify a Vet’s Medical to “Health” to use some loophole to transmit VA Telemedicine Hack… Read more »
Crazy elf
“PRIVACY”, WHAT FREAKING PRIVACY!” Hell, if DHS, and all the other security agencies, can “spy” on everything, and I do mean everything, Americans do. What makes anyone believe VA will keep secret anything pertaining to veterans! Whether by accident, or on purpose, VA is a criminal agency. And, information is money, everything is for sale! If not for sale, then let all the info out for free! We’re learning this from Hillary’s many breaches of national security for her foundation!… Read more »
Crazy elf

Shut that damn union down. While you have the chance!

Seymore Klearly
When you have a criminally run organization such as the VA that is protected from prosecution for violation laws. They have no real incentive to prevent law breaking by anyone connected to that organization. So of course the law breaking including improper release of Veteran’s Medical information will continue. The same goes for Veterans Claims information at the following shows. When the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs shared Claims information on 638 Veterans to organizations that obtained it illegally. “Review… Read more »
Crazy elf
Not yet Seymore. But “rumor” has it the democrats want someone else to debate Mr. Trump. I saw it on Utube this morning, just can’t remember who they said! I think it’s one from the “Clinton News Network”! What’s the odds out in Vegas? Anyone know off hand? I think if I were to bet on this. It would be that Clinton can’t go the full time, 90 minutes, without some kind of LENGTHY bathroom break! Or, maybe even passing… Read more »
Crazy elf

Seymore, I heard on that Utube video Clinton wanted seats! The debate committee said NO!

Seymore Klearly

Wonder if they approved a safety harness attached to the podium to protect her from falling off her booster step.


There is no privacy at the VA. They give your information to whoever they want!

I think you hit it right on the head Ben. I believe the violations are by those much lower, and although VA management may have policies in place, they give them lip service and refuse to hold anyone accountable. It reminds me of an earlier post I believe you had here some months ago. I read somewhere (maybe ProPublica) that the VA was patting themselves on the back for encouraging employees to voluntarily report violations in some official system they… Read more »
On another note…did anyone catch the Forbes article about VA art? The VA apologizes for pissing away millions in art, then rather than stopping it, they just set rules for buying it since they had none previously. Under the new rules, a hospital director can only spend up to $25000 on certain “art”, a VISN director has to approve anything between $25000 and $50000, and VACO has to approve anything over $50000. It’s from the new VHA Directive 1395, Appendix… Read more »
Dina Padilla
I wrote to the Federal Trade Comm about Kaiser Permanente getting caught using over 31,000 ex-employees, those that were fired, using their documents to get them to use kaiser as their new health care provider and the HHS stated that there was no problem. Mind you I didn’t send the complaint to HHS but to the FTC. It seems that when a filing a complaint to a specific dept, they transfer it to the (wrong) department WHICH THEN helps hide… Read more »
Crazy elf
This morning on, 95.6 FM, my favorite conservative news station! I think its “call letters” are WKDO! There was an interesting story on “Veterans Homelessness”! Seems over “800 local and county” leaders, nationwide, are doing the job of VA. That is, these local entities, ie; mayors, councils, etc., are finding places for veterans and their families to live! Doesn’t VA receive tax dollars for this? Where’s it going? Why isn’t VA hollering up a storm, saying how many vets they’ve… Read more »
…and keep the $ while having the audacity to ask for more, please! There was a time last Winter where it was the Community Shelter Board that was out there in the weather going to the woods and streets where known Homeless Veterans camped-out, checking on them, giving blankets, et al. Would you know I have YET to hear of VSO’s going out there at ANY time of year to help those Veterans or at least check on them? Not… Read more »
If you use the two examples I replied to Elf with, I believe you find your answer. I am guessing, but I believe in the case of illegal aliens or refugees, all an organization needs to do is claim they are providing for refugee X to a federal program, and the organization is promptly given a set amount to deal with refugee X, with options to claim much more as a cost of taking care of refugee X. I suspect… Read more »
I think if you find out where or how that money is budgeted or allocated, you would find your answer. How many millions are provided to the VA for veteran homelessness? Once budgeted, how is it administered? Can it be used for other things like “art”? I believe much of it is funneled through the VA, but if there is an amount left over at the end of the year, where does it go? Clearly there is a bigger incentive… Read more »
Catholic and Lutheran Social Services are the larger ones. You are right, no such incentive to help Homeless Veterans with Housing, Food, basics. Here in Columbus, OH the city tore down last year an only 50 year old Veteran’s Memorial along the river so they could “beautify river banks with bike paths”, and that Veteran’s Memorial Building was the ONLY place for Veterans to go at very select times during week and meet with VSO’s and the County Veteran’s Commission… Read more »
Crazy elf

I read somewhere, local governments do receive taxpayers monies to settle refugees (and possibly illegal aliens).
I know there were citizens in Idaho up in arms over that this year. If I remember correctly, it came out at a town hall meeting. After that little girl had been sexually attacked by three young muslim boys.
So Mr. Trump is correct, when he claims refugees and illegals are treated better than veterans!

I was much better off on Medicaid, before I was forced to get Medicare, and VA. I cannot consciously go to the VA for anything other than prescriptions I have been given by outside Dr’s. I’m definitely in financial trouble because I don’t use VA, but I’m alive. I’m sure I wouldn’t be if I was forced to use the VA. All private and public insurance is going up, and that will hurt me. If I am no longer capable… Read more »
Although am popping popcorn for tonight’s first debate, I am worried my brain may not be the same after listening to granny’s shrill grating voice in a concentrated period of time, so am not promising any functionality Tuesday, assuming she causes much eye & ear bleeding tonight. Yes, I could place the TV on closed caption with volume off but that would be quashing the fun and festivities of this First Ring Match. **DING** They should have made this in… Read more »
Ronald Nesler

No matter what outrageous breach of law, ethics or usage VA commits, they have one stock defense. To release a statement, saying that they take the issue seriously. A bunch of lying clowns, my cat has more integrity than VA.

Crazy elf

From “” today, 26 Sept 2016.

“NWO Is Playing With WW3”

Quote: “Alex Jones breaks down the hubris and mental illness of the elite who are willing to gamble the millions of lives just to stay in power!”

The Joints Chief of Staff confirms this!
Watch the video, please!

Crazy elf
Well, the debate is concluded for tonight! As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Trump won! Not by much, but he definitely won. I’d say it was 70% – Trump and 30% – Clinton! And I’m being kind to Clinton! Why? Because his answers on the major issues were correct! I felt Hillary was more interested in attacking him personally! I felt Mr. Trump “kept his cool” and brought out the facts about how our government “hacks” are destroying our country,… Read more »
Don Karg


Dear Benjamin Krause,

The ties go deep into the VA Finances.

I am surprised the University of Phoenix name is still on the Stadium in Glendale, Arizona; maybe after the Super Bowl.


Don Karg

The Gunny!
CVS is absolutely the WORST damn pharmacy ever invented! I will NEVER again even step foot into that place for a stupid candy bar or Q-Tip after dealing with their fucked up pharmacists and what to me appears to be OVERLY stereotypical ways !!! While trying to fill (or even refill since I had done so before) ANY, I mean ANY- even the lowest on totem pole type of Pain Med, narcotic medication- those asshats not only call everyone but… Read more »

We made you do?

C’mon Gunny, admit it. You feel at home with our circus!


Christine Zav
I was an employee of the VA and also a veteran. I retired with PTSD. The dentist I worked with went into my medical record (which was illegal) a Privacy Act Violation. He shared the information with his wife who confronted me about my meds. The Director and the Privacy Act Officer were totally aware of the entire situation and although they had a responsibility to take it further all they did was send me an apology letter. A Privacy… Read more »