Veterans Affairs To Share Veterans’ Health Information Without Consent

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Krause Minneapolis VA 10-10164 Opt-Out Health Information

Thousands of veterans were alarmed to learn VA is quietly rolling out is plan to automatically share veterans’ health information with third parties without written consent.

You got that right. Thanks to the VA MISSION Act, VA will now automatically enroll, or opt-in, all veterans into a health information sharing system with numerous government agencies and private organizations after September 30, 2019, unless you object in writing on a paper form.

Veterans must submit the VA Form 10-0484 in person or by mail to their local VA Release of Information office by of September 30, 2019, if they do not want to be “automatically enrolled” into the eHealth Exchange managed by The Sequoia Project.

UPDATE: 4 Things You Need To Know About VA Sharing Your Data

Sound absurd? Here is what VA wrote in its Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) FAQ:

All Veterans who have not previously signed form 10-0484 as of September 30, 2019 will be automatically enrolled, but have the option to opt out.

Let me say that a third way in case I have not been clear.

VA will automatically share your health information with third parties without your written consent unless you opt-out in writing or submit a revocation in writing submitted in person or by US mail. You cannot submit your opt-out or revocation electronically.

How ironic, right?

In the name of technology, VA is about to force veterans into an electronic data sharing system without consent. The only way to prevent this violation is to present your objection on an agency mandated form ON PAPER by hand or snail mail by Monday. How old school.

And we are just learning about the deadline now.

In order to opt-out or revoke consent, there are a couple of forms you need to consider, noted above… but you only have until Monday to figure it out.

Curiously, the VA Form 10-10164 opt-out that is not technically an official form until October 2019 based on the available form.

One could argue that submitting the 10-10164 before September 30 may still result in a veteran’s automatic opt-in and then opt-out since the form may lack legal effect until October 2019.

So, the forms you can use to opt-out or revoke consent:

  • VA Form 10-0484 Revocation for Release of Individually-Identifiable Health Information Through eHealth Exchange (old)
  • VA Form 10-10164 Opt-Out of Sharing Protected Health Information Through Health Information Exchanges (new)

How do you get the form to VA? Can I send it on eBenefits or fax it to Janesville Evidence Intake Center?

No. The agency requires that you either hand deliver the signed form or mail it to the local Release of Information office at your VA Medical Center by Monday.

No revocations will be processed after September 30, 2019. I hope VA will not auto-opt-in veterans who submit the new form before the deadline.

Either way, if you fail to take action by September 30, your health information will be shared with the eHealth Exchange managed by The Sequoia Project.

Good luck.

Once health information is shared, it cannot be unshared as best I can tell from the information available including the old form.

This means meaning you lose control of your data. While you can possibly opt-out at a later date, whatever is shared is out there in the great and mysterious cloud for whatever hacker to access however and whenever they choose.

Who may get access?

The eHealth Exchange is a massive data-sharing system between federal agencies and private organizations in all 50 states that was originally controlled by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A nonprofit called The Sequoia Project took over management of the eHealth Exchange for “maintenance.” Many VA contractors and vendors are on the Board of Sequoia including Cerner and Mitre Corporation.

VA reassures us everything is safe. Right. Kind of like all the times our data was illegally shared or hacked within the existing system?

“Rest assured. Your health information is safe and secure as it moves from VA to participating community care providers,” promises VA.

Believe them? We don’t, either.

We Drove To Minneapolis VA To Investigate

On Thursday, colleague Brian Lewis and I went to Minneapolis VA Medical Center immediately after reviewing what I describe below to confront agency officials about the highly questionable timing of the notice.

The Facebook Live video contains our initial impressions, which later evolved after we spoke with local officials and conducted an additional deep dive. Veterans who do not revoke consent/opt-out by September 30 will be enrolled automatically per the VLER FAQ.

On our way to Minneapolis VAMC

We learned some inside baseball by asking around about it and inspecting the facility. But, many of the VA officials we spoke with were generally unaware of what VA Central Office was rolling out.

Our local Release of Information booth at Minneapolis VA did not have any of the forms available for veterans seeking to opt-out or revoke their previous consent. The attendant seemed to think her boss might bring some forms up sometime Friday or Monday since a few veterans were asking about it.

Fantastic.

Btw, you may have noticed my reference to “booth” about our ROI. In order to speak with someone at ROI, Minneapolis VA leadership decided to move the ROI intake to the open lobby area where anyone and everyone can hear about what you are asking about regarding your private health information.

So much for privacy when trying to get your private health records.

For newbies reading this, Brian and I are veterans rights attorneys in the Minneapolis Metro who are well-known, but not well-loved, by VA officials locally and nationally.

I will explain the forms in a bit.

Back In The Day When Consent Was In Writing… And It Mattered

For years, VA was required secure informed consent from veterans prior to the sharing of health information. Whether you were a veteran trying to get care in the community or allow your attorney access to a claims file, you were required to provide VA with a release of information granting consent to share the date.

If you wanted to give VA your genomic information so they could share it with private researching organizations for God knows whatever reason, specifically the Million Veteran Program, you had to sign a form granting permission.

If you wanted to opt in to allow your community care provider to use the health exchange to access your electronic health records, you need to sign the VA Form 10-0485. If you wanted to revoke that access, you needed to sign and submit the VA Form 10-0484.

There’s Gold In Those Records, Boys And Girls

To me, and millions of other veterans, this process seems straightforward, but VA officials, university researchers, and private industry really wanted more access to more veteran data since our electronic health records comprise one of the most valuable datasets in the history of the world to date.

Yes, there is an incredible monetary value within the database containing all of our electronic health information, and private industry would profit handsomely from various marketing, advertising, and health solutions that could be developed by simply accessing our records.

Now, that access to our records comes at a cost. For at least the past eight years, standard HIPAA requirements to de-identify records no longer provide the security previously believed. Companies like Facebook readily work to hack HIPAA protections using algorithms to connect HIPAA de-identified data with a person’s Facebook profile using various markers including data like that given by veterans to the Million Veteran Program, for example.

That data can then provide the backbone of entirely new research and advertising arm of companies like Facebook and Google to connect pharmaceutical ads with individuals who may be interested in the newest and greatest pill for anxiety or erectile dysfunction.

VA Throws Off The Heavy Yoke Of Privacy

Fortunately for business partners, researchers, and anyone else who wants to access our data but not be troubled with difficult privacy laws, VA will no longer have its research potential hamstrung by sentimental laws like the Privacy Act or HIPAA.

Veterans can thank Congress and its passage of the VA MISSION Act for allowing automatic access to all veterans’ health information by third party community care providers and “partners.”

One of my readers alerted me to a change in protocol yesterday starting with a PDF flyer circulating at VA.

That flyer, called the Veteran Notification Flyer, informs veterans of the five things we “need to know” about the VA’s new implementation of the health information mandate. I included this below in italics verbatim from the agency’s flyer.

You may be thinking, ‘Well, at least VA thought to give you notice.’

Not exactly. I have not received any notice yet. However, many veterans are writing in starting yesterday with notice letters that VA was transitioning veterans into a new and brave system of data sharing.

The flyer was created September 11, 2019, informing veterans that in 20 days the process was flipping on its head where we need to opt-out after automatically being opted-in.

5 Things You Need To Know About Health Information Sharing

  1. The VA MISSION Act allows VA to now share your health information with participating community care providers for your care and treatment as permitted by federal privacy laws. You do not have to take any action unless you choose not to share your health information electronically.
  2. Rest assured. Your health information is safe and secure as it moves from VA to participating community care providers. VA uses a secure network called the Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE) to protect and easily share in real-time your health information.
  3. Sharing your health information saves you time, and improves your health. By having all of your information available, your providers will have a more complete picture of your health history to better inform treatment decisions.
  4. You can always opt out of sharing your information. If you don’t want to share your health information electronically, complete and return VA Form 10-10164 (Opt Out of Sharing) to the Release of Information (ROI) Office at your VA Medical Center or by mail. If a community care provider requests your records in an emergency, information will be shared even if you have opted out of sharing. Traditional paper forms of health information sharing will remain available regardless of your preference to share or not share electronically. If you opted out of sharing, but change your mind, you can opt back in and authorize VA to share your health information by completing and returning VA Form 10-10163 (Opt In for Sharing) to your ROI Office or by mail.
  5. If you have previously signed VA Form 10-0484 to revoke your consent to share prior to September 30, 2019, that preference will be honored.

If you are a little unclear about how to be sure no one receives the health information, you are in good company. A lot of readers and agency officials were unclear of exactly what is going on, and multiple dates are floating around within VA’s own notices.

One page reads, “VA will begin opting all Veterans into health information sharing, beginning January 2010.” Another page reads, “VA Systems will begin opting all Veterans into health information sharing, beginning January 2020.”

So, when did or will VA start the sharing of our health information without consent?

An intranet notice to VA employees indicated the actual process of sharing will start on or about November 18, 2019.

The VLER FAQ sheet probably provides the best advice specific to veterans who do not want their data shared in the electronic system:

All Veterans who have not previously signed form 10-0484 as of September 30, 2019 will be automatically enrolled, but have the option to opt out. Beginning late 2019, a VA patient’s information will be shared with any community providers that also provide health care services for the shared patient.

“Revocation forms will not be processed after September 30, 2019. However, if you submit VA Form 10-0484, before September 30, your preference will remain honored and no further action is needed by you.”

This language suggests the form must be submitted before September 30, because the agency will stop processing them after September 30.

But how to do you revoke the consent that you never granted?

What is also important is the language difference between the two forms.

Old VA Form 10-0484 vs New VA Form 10-10164

Let’s start with the new form, VA Form 10-10164. Basically, the form says the agency cannot share your health information unless treatment is required for an emergency:

  • Opt-out means that none of your health information can be shared through HIE for your treatment except in a life-threatening medical emergency.
  • Opt-in means that all of your health information can be shared through HIE for your treatment.

So, the opt-out is not absolute. The form also indicates the opt-in means all your health information can be shared for treatment.

What about your mental health records? How will VA protect that data? Could that data also be shared with DHS or other organizations for their own purposes?

The VA Form 10-0484 handles the issues differently.

First, it addresses that the signer revokes their previous consent. Obviously, most of us never consented to this program. So, by signing this 0484, can you preemptively revoke?

That is a question for your local Release of Information Official.

The old form provides the following list about revocation that I think is far clearer about what is at stake. Here is the list from VA in italics:

    1. I am requesting to discontinue my participation in the electronic exchange of my individually-identifiable health information.
    2. I understand that you will no longer share any of my individually-identifiable health information with the non-VA health care provider organizations participating in the eHealth Exchange and partnering with VA.
    3. I understand that information already exchanged between both parties prior to this revocation will continue to be used as discussed in the authorization I signed when I elected to participate in this electronic exchange of my individually-identifiable health information.
    4. I understand that withdrawing from this program does not change my relationship with my health care providers, my future care, or have any effect on my VA benefits.
    5. I understand that the VA will respond to this revocation in writing or through the eBenefits Portal informing me that VA has confirmed my request and the effective date of this revocation.

One of the differences that jumped out at me in the old form was the promise that VA “will no longer share any of my individually-identifiable health information”. It did not qualify that revocation by stating the information will be shared in an emergency.

However, the revocation qualifies the health information by calling it “individually-identifiable health information” demonstrating the agency will share your information so long is it is de-identified. As noted above, merely adhering to HIPAA is no longer sufficient to protect your identity or other information that can be traced right back to you with today’s computing power.

What About Health Information Already Shared

The old 10-0484 says the information “already exchanged” will continue to the used despite revocation meaning once the information is out there, it is out there.

The health information being passed between VA and its community care providers is supposedly shared in “guidance” with the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

Do we have enough information to make informed decisions? Does VA seem to give a rip about our informed consent?

I plan to update this post as more information comes out. You may want to check back from time to time.

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136 Comments

  1. GD Rat Bastards! We should surround every VAMC and take their vending machines hostage and I’m thinking they couldn’t possibly holdout for 8 hours or as soon as their manatee shape/form factor begins utilizing fat for energy.

    • Benjamin, they act so innocent. The VA already overreaches and has been exposing health information for years. Ben, this is nothing new honestly. I know it is not because I have experienced it. Ben, I am already open and transparent and have been. The deal is with those records I honestly do not see them of great value like you say. This is why I say this. Because the VA has put narratives in those records to placate themselves. Or protect themselves. Ben, yes they have. The Navy the same way. Ben, I know exactly what happend and what was happening. The difference is someone poor cannot afford an attorney to stand up to the idiotics. And yes, Ben they are just that. Ben like I have mentioned, tyranny and subjectivity obscures the truth. As for my recovery, yes they had a small impact; but, the majority of my recovery forward was due to my efforts and due to the efforts of various people in the community in my past and present. Ben, points mainly to the common and everyday man or lady. Ben, since leaving the VA or even in the past, I did not and have not hidden anything from the private sector. Not at all. Because with what happen to me, I can speak to it and then some. Others can too. So Ben I ultimately do not care. Ben, they can do whatever strikes them fancy. And, I am returning to the workforce. As for my paper records, I have those. They had them too. Thus, I do not care. All wolves wearing sheepskin clothing. And Ben I am not a private person. I just do not want anything to do with them because a credible valid discussion never happens. It is just all harmful games. Those records are what I experienced as per their interpretation. Some of my conditions still exist due to their negligence and incompetence, some resolved, some improved, and one new condition which is current staph infection that I am dealing with. So Ben why are they so obsessed with the American vets and or citizens? Ben, they seem to project onto the citizens what they are involved in. Ben, they already know everything everywhere and have been knowing. So tell me what is so new with this? In my opinion, NOTHING.

      • Ben, so how about their own information? Just like GOP has requested Biden release his own transcripts. Ben, regardless of what Trump does with Ukraine, I would never vote for Biden or a Democrat. I see Biden as a dirty old man who cannot keep his hands off women. Biden has been corrupt long before Trump came along. Before I was retired from the Navy, I had been recommended for the Medical Enlisted Commissioning twice. Good evals. Plus, early on, I had played on the Navy and Interservice Tennis Teams. Tennis Gold Medalist. Westpac too. One point is they did not approve of my desire to transfer to the United States Navy Nurse Corp. I believe this had something to do with them taking me out. Hell on wheels. Sexual Harassment by them. Pornography brought into classified areas by them. So Ben if they want to go at it, then let’s go. War on. Douchbags. I do not care what they do.

      • I have read through the info I recieved last week in the mail from the VA and also all of the info on VA.gov about this. Related to the forms and OPTing out the info on VA.gov says the old Form 10-0484 expires on and if used must be submitted prior to 30Sep19. The replacement form 10-10164, effective 1OCT19, will be used going forth. There is no suspense indicated for the new form. However the site mentions they will start sharing your info with participating providers that treat you beginning in January 2020. I think this article is being a little alarmist, and potentially misleading based on the info I have read on the site. The old form will not be processed after Sep 30 because there will be a new one. Duh! So submit the new one before January to prevent info from being shared or anytime after to stop future sharing.

    • The letter that I received from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) is dated 09 September 2019. I did not receive it until earlier this week which is the day that I posted about it on one of Ben’s previous blogs in inquiry. The letter is dated the 09 of this month. So it took them at least week or two to get the letters out.

    • Also, in regards to the electronic databases of any type, the data is as accurate as the data that of which already exists within the databases; and, the database data is as good as when it is entered and how it is documented via human interface. I cannot even begin to count the number of times that I have had to correct company data and agency data in relation to me that was not accurate. I have had to correct the information in order to prevent negative impacts upon me. I am not one for getting into employee business; but, however, I will stand up if the situation is not correct while using credible written paper documentation. I am making these comments in relation to this current VA situation. One has to stay informed and keep track.

    • Ben and all, could this move by the VA be setting the stage for Socialized Medicine or Medicare For All to be implemented in the near future throughout the country? Question?
      01 October 2019, the VA becomes Smoke Free facilities. I say what a change from 20 years ago.
      In regards to VA, I am not their puppet. The VA does whatever they desire. Why are they displaying giving vets choice? They are not about choice. If they are trying the choice path, this is news to me.

    • Ben, very little of those records even apply to me today. Those records are a screenshot of time. This is what I have often discussed in your recent blogs. This is where the govt is wrong but they never choose to fix. This is my point of being stuck in the bureaucracy. Much of the data is old validity. Actually, Ben, I may contact the President. I do not see how one can be treated with aged old data. The VA leadership seems to never be with it at all. The data that is applicable today is already communicated with my current healthcare professionals. And, yes, they know the jest of the history. See Ben, I really do not have a path to implement the change because the government does not allow it. Ben, it is the system. Once I left VA, I spent a lot of time correcting after them from when and they were kicking me down the road. Ben, the VA or even the government per say do not offer a rational process that accommodates for change. Even with the President, look at all the employment legislation and the GI Bill none of it applies to me. Only path is Chapter 31. However they deny this too. Or may take a long time to get it approved. Ultimately, the federal government is so messed up but yet they spend time in drama all the time with very little getting taken care of.

    • They never listened and paid attention to what is being said; but, yet, they claim to be such experts. When one claims to be an expert, part of the expertise process requires active listening and active attentiveness. Both skills are missing among the VA leadership. Yu can decipher the rest.

    • In my situation, the actions being taken by the VA leadership are positive. I am not opting-out. Because with me allowing the VA to opt-in, this implementation will bridge my gap. In some of my dealings with people today, sometimes what I have been through comes up. When I speak about the experiences of being in total dysfunction, psychotic, and frequent hospitalizations to help me feel safe, they cannot hardly imagine it. So Ben this is positive for my situation.

    • Ben, as for records, upon entering the VA, I have always tried to speak according to what happened. Though, alot of the time they had questioned; but, honestly never listened to what I was speaking. I am serious. They always had their own agenda. As for the Navy school that I was in when all of this went down, it is true they opened me up without a support system. Unethical. Yes, I experienced psychosis and have recall of this while still in the school. During the school, I became unable to speak. Long delays in my thought processing. Lack of thought connection to support my ability to speak. Type of psychosis-delusional, visual hallucinations, tactile hallucinations. The intensity of the feelings is what contributes to the psychosis. This is why initially anti-psychotic meds are needed to buffer the intensity of the feelings. In the past, VA nurse has mentioned meds contributed to not being able to speak during my Navy situation. I was not on any meds when all of this happened. None whatsoever and none prior to.
      No alcohol. None. But, ultimately, the school medical command continued to overseas screen me without functionable capabilities. I had been out of the country for almost 5 years. The school detached me. I called for help. A few of the senior military leaders kept up with me. So one of them I made contact with. If I had not had a retired senior military member to intervene, I might not be still alive today. This retired senior military prearranged medical civilian clinician contacts prior to the new command. He had too. The command of where they detached me too was continued overseas-isolated duty. No medical. It had been prearranged for outpatient. But, then, after being driven to a screening and while in their presence, the civilian healthcare clinicians chose to enact a Baker-act which locked me into the State Mental Hospital. Did not want me driving due to the state that I was in. After this the Navy proceeded to prepare me for separation. But, the points that I am getting to are: the military managers near and at the end time of my separation made entries of information which were not correct. Or their interpretations were off kilter. The information which pertained to during my early active duty time. Ben, they combined it or lumped it together. I was not sick at the beginning of my active duty time. Not at all. Before entering the military, I had never been hospitalized for anything. A fact. I had been a collegiate scholarship tennis player for four years. Actually, my physical conditioning was top notch. Body fat well below. I had graduated with a college degree. But, getting back to the military managers, the ones at the beginning had enacted over the top scrutinization towards me. It was uncalled for. Reason why I say this is I have been penalized and have suffered serious consequences for information that they had that is not of the truth. So the event followed me during my whole active duty time. Ben, it boils down to being poor with not being able to afford an attorney. I have suffered consequences for an event that I was never guilty of in the first place. So the actions from others towards me because of the event just compounded the enviroment / problem. Yes, I was sexually abused by non-immediate family members while growing up. Parents did not know until later. As a competitive academic collegiate tennis athlete, I was physically fit. Among all the tennis USTA tournaments, the tournaments always had kegs of beer. Players took coolers of beer on the courts during tennis matches. The university coaches would supply the beer on tennis trips. One tennis coach gave it to his players and us for carbohydrates. Ultimately, though, after entering the Navy, because of this background I was placed in a Navy Alcohol Rehab. Though, I did not enlist with a problem with alcohol. My tolerance was real low. This happened due to my background investigation for my Navy clearance. Honestly, I did not understand their actions at the time. Yes, there was beer while a college student; but, at that time it was not a problem. More socially accepted 30 years ago. I had a civilian counselor for the sexual abuse. The Navy saw this when they were doing my clearance investigation. Navy contacted and the situation snowballed from there. I was put into a rehab; but, for the wrong reasons. Ben, this is what I mean tryanny obscures the truth. Navy penalized me from the beginning due to wrong information. All because I could not afford an attorney while a young college student. Navy had no way of knowing though. So I realize the VA employees do change records to protect themselves. And like I have mentioned, I have corrected errors on a couple of occasions. Ultimately, though, I have been sincere with them. They have not been sincere with me. And of course, they won’t. I have no idea how to implement the correct info. This stems with the Navy. I have been bodyslammed. I cannot afford an attorney today either. I realize you did not ask for all of this. Just pertains to records.

    • Honestly, VA will do what it wants to regardless of any form they have a veteran fill out and turn in. The VA runs on subjectivity. Most of the data is interpretations of the VA employees. Interpretations just incite control. Interpretations can incite tyranny which obscures the truth. I may or may not turn in the forms. See this is why I am in my position currently. Because of my truth being disregarded due to interpretations of people who do not give a shit anyway.

    • I just reviewed some aspects of the Sequoia project. Such actions as these is why I assumed my own care. Yes.
      I rarely see a private sector physician now only to do annual lab tests and annual maintenance exams. The VA health records are mostly interpretations. Half truths due to this. The DSM-V is actually open to interpretation. Yes, evidence based research only if it is used with extreme caution with ethics applied. However, medicine is trial and error anyway. DSM-V is not quantatively based by itself. Objective quantative data does remove more of the subjective interpretations than if the subjective qualitative interpretations are used by themselves. Information in the VA health records of most veterans is looked at most of the time per the VA provider interpretations only and what is passed on from provider to provider. In my opinion, much of the truth is wiped out. Tryanny obscures truth. Take a look at the military suicides. There are too many. Militant and disciplinary leadership styles combined together are golden when applied in a direct clean manner. I am referring to military leaders such as General Mattis who exhibit this type of leadership. Many military managers and leaders are tryannical though. Big difference. Tyranny shuts down the person totally. As a result, I can almost bet the suicides of active duty members are a result of this type of conduct that is truly unbecoming of the senior enlisted military and unbecoming of the military officers. More than likely they took their lives before becoming psychotic. Decline in culture. Decline in standards. They had even lowered the ASVAB score requirement. The corruption to include the sexual harrassment and misconduct was prominent back then just like it is today. The difference is that it has increased and is bringing it more to the surface due to the decline in the culture. I was speaking to a civilian quality control engineer recently and he even said the overreaching government involvement in the healthcare industry has destroyed the care. There is little care if any. Most of the healthcare industry has become a money laundering system in and out of the VA for the federal government. So Ben I guess the govt wants it all. Referring to the green. What they fail to look at is eventually the money runs out if the government destroys the American culture. In reference to the healthcare exchanges where the VA desires to dump the veteran medical record data, the questions in play are validity and quality. The VA has never been about quality since the Clinton administration. And if there was quality developing the VA got rid of it real fast. I know they did because I experienced it. As for the validity, when the VA employee culture enters wrong information into the charts, this destroys the validity. And, I am not claiming this has happened among the whole VA employee culture; but, it has happened and is happening. Also, too, the quality so they claim generates less money for them and in return the attitude is to hell with the American people. Govt serving itself which is not what the United States Constitution stands for. So my conclusion is too many hands in the process with serving as a tremendous disservice to the American vets and American non-vets. Ben, honestly, I do not need someone to think for me. I have a brain. I am pretty sure after further looking at this I am 99% sure that I will be opting out. For many of the same reasons that I choose not to use FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Actually, the decision has little to do with me personally. It boils down to safety. and respect for LIFE. This is just my take. Each to his or her own.

    • Sharing on your blog is enough. Actually, sometimes even your blog might could invite issues; but, most certainly not to the degree that Facebook, Twitter, and Google does. My statement has nothing to do with political affliation either. Has all to do with the conduct that Google, Facebook, and Twitter exhibits.
      However, this form or forms will require me to enter the VA to go the ROI.
      I say “Lord Help Me.” They have not viewed me in 4 years basically since Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation Denied me at that time. Just maybe they will not handcuff me to lock me up. No reason too; but, one never knows with this agency.

      • The records being shared are when you are being seen by outside providers. If your VA is sending you out to be seen (Community Care) because they can’t see you within 30 days or your VA doesn’t have that service (mammograms for example), any health records needed for treatment would be sent to the provider providing the service. Example, if you are sent to physical therapy then records pertaining to the injury that caused the need for physical therapy would be provided for your care. The records completed at the physical therapist would be sent to the VA for entry into your record.

    • Benjamin, this post is to you.
      Being the federal government so desperately continues to wants to disrespect and disregard the rights and privacy of the citizens, I have made a decision. Benjamin, they may see the Health Exchanges as positive. Well, Ben, I don’t. Because this is the govt dictating when many of the American citizens are more onboard than some of them are. Also, this also makes it totally one-sided. Ben, in my situation I have never had my say or my voice heard in any of my situation at all. Not that they want to hear it either. It is their voice only to whom they choose to listen to. All of this has been thrusted upon me and I have been supposed to eat it and accept it. Well, Ben, I do not accept the circumstances before, during, and after. The federal government is too big and it does not serve the people. The current situation involves the people serving the govt or the people serving as the govt puppets. Being they so desperately want to send out one sided information, Ben, I have decided that I am reapplying to Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation. I am going to open it all up. We are going to have a discussion. Not that they will approve it but I am going to move forward in an attempt to for my voice to be heard which in many cases they reject. Ben, I am continuing with absorbing your guides and documents so that I can present my case. I googled and reviewed the Federal Register which had been posted in this blog by one of the vet bloggers. Thanks to the veteran who included this additional information. I will have to thank him or her. Ben, though, when I viewed this agenda that was initiated by Obama, I looked at it with total disgust. This is my reaction position of it.
      Already engaged in my employment agenda though. Best.

    • Many of these government officials – politicians just keep getting away with everything. Many of them just dish out, do nothing, and hide. Ben, I know what I stand for and I will speak it. The problem has been and is they do not listen. They are so arrogant. Ben, it has been their way or no way at all. Many of the situations involving govt officials stems from George Soros / plus deep state. Of course, no voice here. Just take the stomping from this tyranny. However, I do have impact regarding my situation with the VA somewhat; but, that is all. With the healthcare situation, infrastructure, immigration and all, Trump has not been able to resolve any of this due to the people in government who are the George Soros puppets. Democrats are under the George Soros dictatorship because he funds most of them. The leftists are the ones who are trying to take away my and our Gods, free speech, and rights. A lot of this is trickling throughout the VA. The health exchange in my opinion is a step towards totally taking over the American citizens with starting with the veterans. All points to Communism.

    • My input to the suicide situation is happening due to this system. Top government officials sitting in DC writing law after law to be enacted into the VA and among all the industries. Those at the top have no idea how they are bogging down the VA employees even more due to this. The decent VA employees cannot hardly deliver the care due to being strangled to death with laws and with regulations enacted by the unelected govt officials, the elected govt officials, the insurance companies, the care delivery agencies, and the VA leadership. Yes, there are bad seeds too. But, overall the problems points to the magnitude of laws, rules, and regulations. Ben, the top leadership believes a law is needed just to dot an i and cross a t. See my point. From what I gather it has gotten worse since I left. But, yet, Mr. Wilkie claims only 4 out of the 20 committing suicide are in the VA. To his comment, I would say then the 4 in the VA should not be taking their lives. How about that? As you can see this is not the case. Even 1 vet taking his or her life is too many. Going back to me, I am not claiming that I am in over the top perfect health at all. What I would say is my health has greatly improved since I left the VA. The more increased level of functioning has happened due to my leaving this system. Leaving the system unleashed me even, though, I have been having to take care of what the VA either could not do or would not do. This is my point. The system sabotages recovery. This change with me from 4 years ago would not have happened should I have remained in this system. Ben, this is why I say a bridge would be helpful between the Independent Living Program and the actual Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation program. You say now I am adding more laws and regulations. Well, here is the deal. The VA doctors cannot approve or disapprove for any vet to do anything if it is not documented with evidence and if they do not already have some leeway or insight into the situation. Many vets who have been injured and after a few years may can and may like to move forward. Some are in assisted living and some may be living independently. Ben, as per the way the VA is currently, vets cannot prove the change for the VA to document it. Too many rules, red tape, and laws are holding the vets down. Now, if they have progressed to a certain level, are able to leave this system, and if the vets per say have some foundational knowledge on how to help themselves, the vets would more than likely continue to improve and recover to an even higher functioning level. However, the change will not be documented. What can one do about it? Nothing particularly if one is the little guy sitting on the bottom. See my point. Top government officials who do not know anything about healthcare are sitting in DC and dictating policies, rules, laws, and regulations which are affecting many lives. I am referring mostly to the Former President Obama. He and his leftists types have destroyed the healthcare industry. The Federal Registery set up is just tons of more laws rules, and regulations that are being used to dictate the American citizens in a negative way. How about having laws and regulations applied to the Obamas, the elites, and the top govt officials? How about some accountability at the top for once instead of always pointing to and at the little guy? So Ben the suicides in my opinion are linked to the actions delivered by the federal government.

  2. The VA is getting worse by the day, now they don’t even protect your information thru HIPPA, what a disgrace.

    • Sorry, just thought I’d bring to your attention that it’s HIPAA -Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

  3. So, I have the forms, …. there’s no instructions as to where to send them. Do you have an address???

  4. “To confuse is to control.”

    Going by chatter, demands, marketers, social media traitors, even activist/politicking, etc., today’s gold is our personal data… all and any of it. We are after all living in a police state, militarized, free to attack anyone they dislike or considered “on the fringe” or “conspiratorial” yes? Cough cough “whistle-blowers” whiners.

    Many links have been scrubbed but found one and not wasting time over it.
    “https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-personal-data-israel-documents”

    I’ve got it recorded by Union Health Care’s local top notch CEO’s secretary and others “not to expect any privacy with our phone numbers that may be listed “private” nor about our medical files,” And not to expect nurses or staff to respect privacy rights, not to gossip, spread info, etc. They are not sworn to secrecy or signed gag orders or non-disclosure contracts with health care entities. “People, humans, will always talk.”
    Laws like HIPPA among others are a joke.

    Also several years back were all those “merging” tech companies, medical “complexes,” to have our info so by the time an ambulance may pick us up the emergency room staff would have all our needs and info in seconds by the time of arrival to a hospital. Weren’t all vets opted in automatically to that program? Forgot the name of it. May have been the “Million Veteran Program” but doesn’t sound correct on the program I am thinking of.

    Are they playing dumb? Nice tactic very common. “But, many of the VA officials we spoke with were generally unaware of what VA Central Office was rolling out.” That was a constant I heard and they knew better but continue to play the games so as not to get trapped in to more questions or as a traitor or whistle-blower by accident. Take it at face value and acting only.

    Is that like what unions, eclectic agents of evil, and communist used in their scheming and agendas was to segregate/isolate secretaries, workers, staff, into their separate cubicles or offices on the same floors, having to sign confidential contracts, to never discuss work-place info or activities with other workers or outsiders? Lest they be fired, sued, targeted for thuggery, ruined for life. Play dumb and ignorant. Criminals and gangsters to it all the time. Sure did. Still do. Saul Alinsky (The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing) (Chicago offices) and those before him required such things as the above.

    Nice to know we or I can be out shopping and have some idiot thug or activist come out of no-where with some secretive symbols or tats on them asking questions from a total stranger about issues in our medical files while we are having to fight with the VA or civy care over many issues? But nothing to be done about that.

    Or about all the background investigations/checks to having to sign all those release forms to any agency or politicians office we may try to file complaints with? What may seem like simple checks to just purchase some types of sinus meds, changes in health care providers, dealing with corruption and fraud turns into credit checks, criminal record checks, insurance checks, pharmacy checks and purchases going back many years, etc. Privacy? Damn odd we get flak and locals knowing when we may try to contact some politician or agency about corruption or wrong doing or when registering in a hospital for some care then seemingly spread out into the community, local “leaders” thinking it all funny, phone calls begin to rub in the fact there are those freaks out there loving the ability to know everything there is to know about us and is fair game and open to those with the connections and certain kinds of humans known for gossip, scorn, the scorned, activist, politician’s thugs, etc., can play above the laws. THEN ALL PLAY DUMB.

  5. Now some of the posts from earlier in the month are starting to make sense. Naturally, VHA plays CYA with an 11th hour “save” for the veteran patients after all of the civilian “targets” are fully armed against the sc patient having no knowledge of any of it. If you’ll recall, there was a post in the vein of a medical device vendor having unnecessary access to a patient’s pharmacy records, and similar posts.

    Direct language from VA Form 10-10164 …”Opt-out means that none of your health information can be shared through HIE for your treatment except in a life-threatening medical emergency. Opt-in means that all of your health information can be shared through HIE for your treatment.”… so by opting out, there is a lesser opportunity for nefarious gossip about your aggregated private medical information, being read ELECTRONICALLY as the latest best-selling book.

    The query I have in the way I read this is that you can opt-out at any point, but those that already have electronic access will continue to have access? There has to be a stopgap somewhere along the way if they’re stating that the veteran has the right to opt-in/opt-out at will, EXCEPT in emergency care situations. How many months they’ll take to get the correct opt-in/opt-out instructions activated is a different animal altogether.

    Kinda shines a different perspective on their “Thank you for your service!” auto response, eh?
    Here are the related pdf form links:
    ENROLLMENT APPLICATION FOR HEALTH BENEFITS “https://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/1010EZ-fillable.pdf”

    OPT-OUT OF SHARING PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION THROUGH HEALTH INFORMATION EXCHANGES “https://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/Updated%2010-10164%20(003).pdf”

    I can’t help but mention another forked-tongue observation. He who enacted the “rights” act for whistle-blowers is referencing harm on those pointing out when he errs. Oh what a wonderful society of hypocrisy.

    • Emergency Life Support Service. They’ve got us coming and going. Playing DUMB when we may have signed paper work for a surgery, just before going under, but told we must sign the papers for it to continue or postpone it. Asked for a copy and told I’d get one after surgery. Never happened, told I signed no documents on the cutting slab. So I don’t know what the hell I signed and never got a copy of anything just the paperwork needs and releases during the check in process, etc.

      The ELSS by the power company is supposed to put us on a list if we have life supporting medical devices in the home. Being high on the priority list for repairs. Which is total BS too. However, it started out all that was needed was a form signed by a MD stating we had such devices in the home, that’s it. Then it turned into medical file release documents good for one year only to get that service. Then it turned into documents to be signed for releasing our info without any ending date on the contract or document. Fine print ya know. Wrote about it before. So I declined. No “prudent lay person” would ever sign such a open ended, get it all document for all to see. Especially when the local Duke Energy supervisor is a council person and into other political functions. Trust who? With other thug attempts or attacks done wrote of too stemming from the same varmints and company.

      Crews come out, enter the property like others do like assessors, inspectors not needing to give notice. Just there. Catch and question them, or the one like I did. What’s up. Oh we’re checking your Smart Meter and checking on your medical device inside. Say what? On/from the outside? Yes. On the phone I went. Ooops here comes the DUMB treatment. Questions are asked then. “Well sir we archive calls for training purposes and you haven’t contacted us previously. Ha. Talked to two phone reps and had to call in the repair crews over the elec short, liars. “There are no crews or has been at your house.” Big lie, play dumb. (No intentionally created negative short by the pole?) And “no field crews or staff would know about the type or of medical devices in your home and the Smart Meter has nothing to do with such devices or can produce information about in-home electronics or medical devices. ‘No-one here would have access or know about your medical needs or devices. (Dummy, I signed releases in the past that used to be good for just one year, play DUMB. Or the calls about why I refused to sign the new contract for emergency support) Or how much energy they use.” None of our crews would do or say such a thing. Smart Meters are safe just collecting total electric usage in general no item specifics. Paraphrased but have that on record too.

      Fun stuff. Then to go enter a hospital for some surgeries lost in the Medicare systems, I don’t exist, systems down, new system issues, lost test results, etc. VA reports not having you on file or as a patient. To some squirrels and scum refusing to hand-over my med files to find out who did what and why the omissions and such. What fun. Yes indeed. Yep, one very sick screwed up society… and much more.

      Read the small print people on every damn thing.

    • BINGO!
      I think I thought of an answer as to how seemingly unrelated medical info is allowed to be viewed by the vendors/contractors. I’ll bet the sc veteran patient’s disability percentages AND their prescribed medication list are included as the allowed viewing, as standard information included to be freely seen by vendors/contractors on every missal, even without a precise need to know.
      Ben? Brian? Anyone who knows for sure?

      Now that is not to imply that under the “new” method, access to all medical information irrelevant to immediate care would be forbidden by some measure. THAT I think is the main scare most veterans are deeply concerned about.

      It surely does nothing to calm panic in an easily wary group of veteran patients for VA/VBA/VHA/VSO’s, etc, AND Congress, to keep such important issues under the rug until full on panic has ensued among the concerned ‘victims’ of said plot(s) & ploy(s).

    • I’ve had a chance to do a bit of digging, and came up with these links that may be of some help in deciding the best course of action in this matter. Of course, if VHA had included at least their own skimpy links on the flyer, then they wouldn’t have the had joy of creating panic among their patients. There are several VAMC’s in the search engine having links about this transition. BTW I didn’t notice one for MN.

      In a nutshell, the flyer was intended as VHA’s way of letting patients know that they are transitioning (VISTA records) into the HIE (Health Information Exchange) in January 2020, to make them easier to access by the civilian medical vendors/provider(s) you choose or chosen by VHA. How much access or limits to info is undisclosed.

      The military link is the most informative.
      “https://www.va.gov/vler/”
      “https://www.va.gov/VLER/vler-health-exchange-registration-guide.asp”
      “https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/VLER”
      “https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Technology/VLER-HIE”
      I hope this is helpful in your decision.

  6. Another aspect of v.a. appothy towards veterans. I can’t think of anything the v.a. has accomplished that has a positive effect
    on vets, unless you consider the cheap ass wheel chairs they provide. The depth of the veterans administration stupidly, incompetence, appothy is bottomless.

  7. They most likely won’t even process your opt outside because privacy officer in Indiana is clueless as there offices will be flooded. Thanks dicks ! There no accountability, va hires criminals to hold your records private. Did Ben miss the convict that attacked the judges daughter naked in shower and cut his breaks? Yes va hiring out of the penetentry. My husband will be going to a civilian dr once a year to keep records updated but va care going to stop they retaliate and homicides. Daily caller whistle blower hit list guy out of Indiana

  8. The writer is not giving all information. The VA is not just sending all info to a database for no reason. If you are seen in Care of the Community, they can share your records. If you are being treated at a Non VA Emergency Room, they can share your records. These are not just being put in some massive data bank for no reason. They don’t get send anywhere you are not being seen.

    • VA will not have management of cloud based records. How much money has been funneled into VA to upgrade the IT systems. It’s obscene. We do not live in a just world. The records will not be “fine until they are needed”. How do you know? I am the security and compliance officer at our office and as we grow privacy, security and compliance become bigger concerns, I.e. more fingers in the pie. And I am not putting a malicious spin on the employee intent. Look at my little firm and look at VA, 50 states and Community Health Providers+other gov’t entities.

      • Dianna, I agree with you. You speak about the IT systems, cloud, and protected information, in my opinion, this is what is going to lead to the full collapse of this country. Sad but I see it coming. They do not care about the risks. I am not saying that I do not like the technology; but, alternatives should be in place. 🇺🇸🗽

  9. Well, let me start the High Holiday off right. I had a client in who waved off a letter sent to them about privacy – better redress that issue. And inform IDK the number of vets that are clueless concerning this issue. As always, thank you very much. So many VA tracks to watch and always making clandestine changes. Following…

  10. I just left the San Antonio’s Audie Murphy VA medical center trying to get the information on this also which they said they will not be giving any information out like I believe that they don’t have the forms they won’t print out the forms they won’t give the forms and the forums not available so how are we going to opt out within 2 days and I live over 2 hours away from medical center when I 1st read this I didn’t have access to a Printer how are we supposed to do this. is this legally allowed without notice can we do a class action lawsuit against the government for violating standard notice were you at least get 30 day notice not a 2 day notice is there something else we can do to fight this

  11. Right.
    Opt out by submitting/mailing in a form.
    It’s not like VA has never lost something I dropped of at my RO, and got a date-stamped copy as a receipt.

    • True Frank. They lose everything. I just do not see their purpose for accountability with the vets. Because they are not.

  12. Nope, this isn’t a bad thing… Krause just wants to grind his axe with the VA. The VA is sharing your medical records with the community providers we all have been asking to see. This will ensure continuity of care and prevent delays in care. Look right at the form, it is specific to health care providers, not marketing firms, not law enforcement, etc… The information is still protected under HIPAA, regardless. We wanted MISSION ACT, we got it and now we all need to stop our bitching and complaining!

    • Mark, you are correct to a certain point. However, the VA already does this anyway; but, underhandedly done particularly if they are already almost like brother and sister in the outside facililities and institutions. I have witnessed it. I see this as a way of credibilizing their own actions. If there is such a word as credibilizing. The problems I potentially see are the actions will involve a greater number of veterans being exposed and a greater number hands involved in which most of the time adds to the corruption.

    • Speak for yourself. All of us have not been asking to see communityy providers! I question your motivation for even being on this site if you believe that Benjamin Krause has an axe to grind.

      • Figgy, not sure who you are directing your comment to. I do not believe Ben has an axe to grind with the VA. I do not either. I left the VA and started using my Tricare because shortly into the Obama administration they started throwing me under the bus. Figgy, years ago when the Navy exited me, the VA actually saved my life. Figgy, tell me what a vet is supposed to do when the vet cannot get issues taken care of? Please enlighten me. When vet is also trying to move forward to school to work, and they even stand in the way with this too. So if you know something that I do not please let me know.

      • I cannot afford Tricare dental. Have dental issue which happened in the Navy and is service connected due to being in the records but not labeled as service connected. DAV failed at their job on this too. VA failed care with dental. And Mark mentions the Mission Act, well, Mark I am not eligible for the Mission Act even with my rating. Ben is not grinding axe with VA. He is just seeking the truth so vets do not get thrown under the bus more than they already are.

    • Mark, You may have wanted others not so much. I don’t care one way or the other and left the lousy liars and game players at the VA years ago… as their threats and games reached out into “community care.” Is that globalism or village living? HIPPA laws are BS. So is having all our info in some cloud, or we’ve had to sign release forms for so many things or people for care it’s not even funny. Cheerleaders want to tell others to ‘stop whining’ but leave out the state they live in or how far they’ve had to go around the block to find or experience some reality. Apparently you haven’t had to deal with too much with your care, records, and such. Or felt any stings from so many college kiddies, activist, and others having any or all of our info at hand.

      WE can sign all the release forms requested or claimed to need then some or us, or me, can’t even get copies of our own records via sent to a hospital, clinic from the VA nor the more recent files from the new hospital and PCP MD? Why? And it’s legal and nothing to be done about the activist and scorned/connected from passing around whatever they want about us? ID politics and such? Look right at the form, yeah right.

      We sign releases for one clinic, same clinic different MD cause the last PCP can’t do what he was trained to do so on with the games… we sign more for why??? Go through all the checks and background shit again. We see a clinic sign zeee papers then it happens to be spread over an entire parent hospital for fun and through several areas like surgery, having no surgeries there, to registration to the hospital…never happened, on to records, to the harassers from the hospitals “switch board” operators. WHY? Over the VA threats, their harassments, retaliation over mole-hills turned into mountains then carried on to other players in their fields? WTF. I am the one with many axes to grind and why media and other scum run for the hills after talking to me.

      If you are happy and living in happy land with good care, or think you are, while others have been dealt shit and seemingly for a life-time don’t tell others what to do or when to stop bitching and whining. You should read and try to comprehend what some are going through out here and not everyone wants their info spread around like Jiffy Pnut Butter… which it is. Obviously your needs are few and easy compared to others. Enjoy it. Cheerleader. Perhaps you’ll get bit by some reality some day or by some corrupt VA rattlesnakes.

      The entire system is a joke, so is DC and all those other clowns. New here go back read some stories and complaints then go be happy.

    • Mark, you’re absolutely correct. This is definitely a positive. Most private providers use state-wide record access systems as it is. The tin foil hats here just can’t help themselves.

      • Sammy, now you’ve really proven your probably not a vet, know very little about some reality, don’t seem to care about others, are new here… maybe. Seem to have that grand cheerleader union staff attitude. Plus using lame old labels/rhetoric demeaning any others that don’t agree with your ‘group-think,’ or how you perceive life or the VA. College treating you well? You avoid answering questions or giving out any info about how well your being treated, for what a daily aspirin, or what state. And you can’t even admit that we are already on lists, etc. Don’t watch the MSM news either? Play dumb. Thanks for the example. Carry on troll, have fun.

  13. Hmmmm, this article makes it sound like the VA passed the MISSION Act… And that it’s OK to take your frustration out on your local VA hospital. The VA doesn’t pass Acts… Congress does. Blame your Congressional Delegates. BTW, DOD has been sharing files for years.

  14. Yes, this article is very misleading and filled with lies. Veterans fear not. Watch the above youtube video for peace of mind.

  15. The form specifically applies to the release of medical information to medical care providers for treatment purposes. However, it is unclear whether a pharmaceutical company can obtain those documents in order to check on the efficacy of pharmaceuticals used in a veteran’s treatment. Additionally, there is no limits put on the opt-out; i.e., can a private or other government agency obtain those records even though the umbrella organization is not provided specific treatment but a singular doctor’s office in that group may be providing said care.

    Second, the forms can be obtained via the internet on the VA website and they should be sent to the privacy office of the VA Medical Center that provides a veteran’s medical care.

    • So Ben if the purpose of sending records without consent is for the purpose of the Mission Act, what about the veterans who cannot use the Mission Act due to the VA criteria? Did you ask this question? I am not eligible even with being at my rating due to living less than 30 minutes from a VA. And, even with VA failure of treatment of condition that is SC but not labeled as SC. Ben, they never evaluated with other conditions. Not all was looked into. Yes service connected because Navy contributed to it. All in my Navy paper records. But VA failed with care and do not bother to send me outside. I just determined to try to get myself hired to take care of it myself.

  16. Two points. Sharing my data with an outside provider is OK. But, we already signed away that consent when we received Choice Care. Not that the VA sent anything along – in my case – nope. Second point. Does anyone think the VA hasn’t already been “sharing” bulk data with Pig Med or Pig Pharma? The fast-track to opt out is merely a little bit of housekeeping to bless the fact that data has already been dumped to those who harvest and analyze such things.

  17. May be reading this “flyer” wrong but I understand it to mean sharing with contract CBOC and contract specialists (which means it will be in the contractors files and subject to medical privacy unless you authorize sharing in the NIH medical research or some other research you are approached with.)

    Personally, I prefer any physician seeing me to be able to see any previous visits I’ve had for my conditions that may reflect on his decision making. I don’t want to have to go through the process of having to give him permission to get a record he wants to see each time a different physician wants to see, for example, and MRI report or view the MRI electronic views himself. And I wouldn’t mind if the sharing was a USA wide medical facility only sharing like Japan’s so that if I pass out on a trip the ER where I’m taking would have immediate access to my medical history without waiting for me to regain consciousness sufficiently to give it directly.

    I suppose HIV patients and drug seekers wouldn’t like this or maybe even Hep C patients but I don’t fit in that category.

    I don’t read this as sharing with pharmaceutical companies or medical appliance companies or health insurance companies or other such companies which are constantly bugging me by phone because of being over 65. They are getting that information from some other source. Like the AARP or your VSO organization which sells your contact and age data on a list or to a listing company.

  18. This is a shame! I haven’t even heard about this yet and it is September 27th… no mail, no phonecall, nothing. I just happened to read this on the website and now have to drive to the Biffalo VA within the next 3 hours and wait in line or it’s pointless. I was just about to leave to drive down to DC for 2 weeks.

    • I received a letter in the mail from DC earlier this week. As a matter of fact, I posted about it in one of Ben’s previous blogs inquiring about the situation.

  19. Again, “veterans adversary” should be closed down for good. All the money they ask for they get, and intentionally continue to grow worse instead of improve. I am still conflicted on what to do. Should I sign old and new opt out and take them to ROI?

  20. #1, for (Angela), STOP saying “Ben” to begin every sentence and mid-sentence and phrase!!! #2, What can one do if they are in Afghanistan? Is there any legal action that can be taken?

  21. Ben, remember when all of this came up in 2015? It was on or before May 22, 2015 and we received emails about how wonderful VLER was and that we should sign up for it? I was pretty vocal about not wanting VLER to have any say in what records were being shared. I didn’t then, and I don’t now want this accesss approved. These existed at that time: VHA Directive 1605, VHA Privacy Program, VHA Handbook 1605.1, Privacy and Release of Information, VHA HANDBOOK 1605.04 (dated 9-6-2015) Notice of Privacy Practices, HIPAA Privacy Rule, Title 45 CFR parts 160 and 164. As a parent I can recognize the tactic of asking a question until the parent gives in just to shut the kids. Sound familiar? Should we be burying the OIG’s office today with complaints? The White House VA Hotline? Our Senators and Congressmen?

  22. I went to my VA Health Clinic today (Friday 9/27) to drop off my form, and the ROI Office was CLOSED, and weren’t sure they would be open Monday. How’s that for a dilemma?

  23. 1) I contacted the VBA, local CBOC and the “whitehouse” va hotline and they alleged that they had no idea what this is, accused me of being paranoid and both the VBA AND “whitehouse” hotline hung up on me.

    2) A release form is signed when a veteran presents at a provider outside the va.
    The ONLY records a civilian provider needs and should have access to are those records which are relevant to the condition being treated.
    Why would a physical therapist, for example, need unfettered access to a Veterans mental health records?
    Does a radiologist who is simply performing an X-ray really need to be poking around in a Veterans entire medical file?

    Why does ANYONE think this is ok? Arguing that it’s “more convenient” for the veteran and the community provider is quite literally the most absurd line of reasoning.

    A tech conducting an MRI on a Veterans neck, for example, has absolutely ZERO business browsing a Veterans GI related medical records.

    And where does their “access” stop? Are they free to add commentary and personal opinions to records already in the file and potentially unrelated to the care being provided? The VA can’t keep track of and protect Veterans medical records as it is. What evidence exists to suggest less control over who accesses records will result in a better overall experience for the Veterans who’s records are being released at the pleasure of the VA?

  24. WOW – I’m overwhelmed by all the information divulged in this discussion. Should I file or not? I’m confused, I just attended a Non-VA provider doctor’s appointment and my medical records were not exchanged between the VA and the NON-VA provider. I had to obtain them myself and bring them to my next VA doctor’s appointment. I thought they were supposed to be shared between these two entities? I want there to be that type of communication available. However I want to be in control of who, what, where and why! I just have lost confidence in the ability of others to have my best interest at hand even though that is their job to do so. Just saying.

    Peace Out

    • They were shared only if you went to the VA Records management and authorized the sharing in the past. It appears the pre authorization is a thing of the past now. You have to opt out in stead of opting in.

  25. The only way to change this for future Veterans getting into the system is to change the wording in the VA Mission Act. Which would require…more bs than I feel like typing right now.

  26. Is this an incompetent act of the Trump VA or a nefarious act as you are suggesting?
    Before I overly react, I believe I will check other 3rd party sources for verification. I will also contact my Congressional Rep. who is on the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee.
    Something all of us should do and not rely on ONE SOURCE OF INFORMATION andover react.

    • @”George Kniss”,
      If your unaware about how those in leadership positions at VA make up their own rules, then you need to go back in time and research all of the scandalous acts committed by VA employees!
      No matter who’s in power in Washington, the VA’s leadership across this country always spins any law or rule to their benefit!
      That’s why many believe the VA is nothing more than a money laundering government agency!

  27. A lot of “cloud servers” are located west of Cheyenne Wyoming near the highest point on the Lincoln Highway (I-80 now).

    How much security is there? Your banks and the Federal reserve is trusting them. Can they be breached? Yes, there has been breaches from some Credit Card companies and Retail companies.

    Wake up. We are in the electronic age. My Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016 wants to stow all my document creations on a cloud for data mining. It is their software. I’ve went through the trouble to cancel the “onedrive”. Every update of software I have to do it again.

    I’m more trusting of the government clouds than the private clouds. The government has a greater concern for security than Microsoft or Google or Facebook as can be seen from the investigation of the Russian interference with our elections. Probably the Chinese and Israel also use Facebook to “lobby” voters for their favored friendly candidates like Moscow/Beijing Mitch, etc.

    Your state voter records are probably the least secure and voting machines that don’t do a hard copy ballot back up for a recount.

    If you join the VA million man research or the NIH all of us you are signing up for data mining that will benefit all of us and our future generations. But that is your choice. Your private health insurance (non government) already mines you health data that they require to pay your bill. The VA requires Choice bills to be accompanies by a copy of the progress notes to add that to your VA medical record. Good because you don’t have to worry about obtaining records from a private source for you disability claim.

    So there is good and bad in all of this. But we are stuck with it. We are in the electronic age. Probably no worse data breaches or abuses than the hard paper age of fraud and embezzling. Just different techniques and higher intelligence required to get to the data.

  28. If y’all think the VA is bad – which it is – then watch this video of civilian hospital employees reacting to a woman (in a wheelchair) having convulsions!

    *”https://youtu.be/_1XomDWAUcY”*

    • Oh Crazy Elf, I agree with on private sector too. One has to research credibility on these physicians too. In my opinion, the whole health care industry is glutting punishment. High costs for a physician to log into a computer or IPAD for the whole hour or 30 minutes. Instead of delivering care.

  29. @ TLC,
    I’m thinking that if someone has opted-out during the Choice roll-out(or made their records sensitive, maybe?), then they would have to bring their own copies of relevant medical information to their civilian appointment. From what I read, if you opted-out already using VA Form 10-0484 in the last couple of years and until Sept. 30, then you are still opted out in this new plan. After Monday if you want to opt-out, you’ll need to file VAForm 10-10164 for the same consideration. If you don’t mind your info being freely available to researchers, developers and who knows all else, then opt-in for your doctor’s easy access to all about you in VA Medical files. I am guessing that, that is the long and short of it all.

    Where Ben and Brian and many posters are greatly concerned, I think, is the mass dump into the cloud of everyone that hasn’t had a fair shot at KNOWING of this medical information transition, (that in private civilian practice is recognized by HIPAA under their circumstances as private and requiring your signed release EACH time), will be freely available to every clown with some vague interest in what’s out there about any one or all of us, and just because it’s there. Such as someone wanting to know how many veterans have hang nails, because they want to get a gold star for finding some newfangled “cure”.

  30. Spent hours on the phone but this is what I got: Call your local VA ROI and get the fax number. Fax your VA Form 10-10164 and print out the fax history so that you can prove that it was done on time and sent to the closest ROI. If they say no ask to be transferred to the regional ROI to ask for their fax number. This info came from a regional ROI and the office said that they have been receiving calls non-stop since Wednesday. They said that they honestly have no idea how to handle this and until it comes from the top this is the best solution that they can come up. The reps were AWESOME and went out of their way to get what info they could. Hope this helps.

  31. According to a poster to Ben’s Fb page this is the elusive fax # to send the VA Form to opt out 404-828-5060. Now, to cover my arse, I know NOTHING about this number, but I would do some research before blindly sending that much personally identifiable info to it.

  32. where do we mail these? like, seriously snail mail.. wow. the VA is absolutely terrible and ill deter my children from service with every thing i can use to convince them the DoD and VA are despicable people praying on ignorance of our youth.

  33. Dammit! Creating a window where the information an be released allows every Vet being treated for PTSD to be stripped of 2A rights. This will let them disarm the most feared group of trained firearm owners. Being an FFL I know how the anti 2A folks think.

  34. Took care of it Today 9-27-19 friday thanks for the Headsup on short notice Ben much appreciated, when I went there were quite a few people who had put in the opt out app, either their reading your blog or getting it from somewhere…
    thanks again…

  35. I received the letter yesterday (Thursday). This is very screwed up to give us 2 business days to turn in opt out form. What the hell? My va clinic is 2 hours away and I can’t drive that far cause of health issues.
    I refuse to go to VA for any healthcare anymore. I broke away from va care a few years ago.
    The short notice is just wrong; that’s not taking care of the Vets!

  36. Ben and all, here is some additional info that needs consideration, google 168VA10P2. the link to the Federal register dated May 11, 2012 contains info about the privacy act of 1974 and the notice of the VA’s new system of records: “Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) – VA.

    The Federal register states the VLER was created by the VA at the direction of President Obama On April 9, 2009. there are 5 pages about the VLER disclosures. beside being used to adjudicate VA benefits/comp, the Federal register states: on it’s own initiative, the VA may disclose information to a federal, state, local, tribal or foreign agency charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting civil, criminal or regulatory violations of law, or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto.

    there are 5 pages of the allowable disclosures (pages 27859-27863) in the federal register.

    last week I saw a cardiologist at Providence Medical center in Medford Oregon through choice/mission. I signed all of the Hippa and authorizations prior to to the appointment.

    At the appointment, Dr. Gunasekera presented me with a VA form she said would give her access to my VA medical records for here treatment of me. I did not have my glasses and did not read the form but I did sign and date the form at the bottom. there were blank spaces on the form that Dr. Gunasekera said she would fill in later.

    The next day I had second thoughts about signing this form with out reading it and having blank spaces not filled in. no other choice doctor had ever asked me to fill out a VA form before giving them access to my VA Records. I sent certified letters to the Privacy Officer Richard Weber at the Roseburg VA and to Dr. Gunasekera
    revoking my authorization granting access to my VA Records. I also called the doctors office and was told that the nurse would call me back, which she did. she informed that she had located the form and that it had not been sent to the VA and agreed to mail it back to me.

    Yesterday after reading your article Ben, I printed off and sent certified mail the 10/10164 opt out form to the privacy officer in Roseburg. I checked my mailbox and the cardiologist had mailed me back the blank form I had signed. it was VA Form 10-0485 “REQUEST FOR AND AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION TO HEALTH INFORMATION EXCHANGES”. The blank spaces were for my name, birthdate, gender and social security number. the spaces had all been filled in by some one except the social security number. 168VA10P2 is listed under privacy info on this form as it was on the OPT Out VA form 10-10164.

    my questions to you Ben are: Dr. Guasekera already had access to my pertinent VA medical records, so why is the VA using a Choice doctor to get me to sign off on the release of my VLER?

    How many other Veterans has the VA done this to or is it just me?

    no other VA choice/mission doctor has ever presented or asked me to sign off authorizing access to my VLER.

    when you read the Federal Register about this, you will find that the VA can disclose this information to just about anyone it chooses if you give them permission to do so.

  37. The day where Vet take up arms to protect future generations of Vet should happen soon. We all know these disconnected politicians have no clue. They have been sending us I to harm’s way without a declaration of war for too long. Why no Dec of war? Beacuse mutual aid on the country we meddle in kicks of a real war, & the benefits we would be entitled to if an actual war was declared.

    AUMF is illigal and leaving us vets and our families hanging out to dry while saving the government the money to actually help those who risked it all. It is bullshit plain and simple.

  38. I find it hard to believe that veterans are saying “I think this is a good thing. it will help with my continuity of care”. If that’s an issue why didn’t you sign a consent form for your civilian doctor before now? The frightening part is that’s the same as saying ” I’ve got nothing to hide, so I don’t care if they don’t have a search warrant” as for ” the system is secure so you don’t need to worry about the information getting out” REALLY??!! In the past few years I’ve been notified no less than twice that my information had been exposed during a security breach.. so explain to me HOW ADDING MY INFORMATION TO ANOTHER DATABASE MAKES IT MORE SECURE?????

  39. Benjamin,

    Thank you very much for the heads up and I took the necessary actions. Yesterday, September 27, 2019, I contacted the Associate Director at my local VA Medical Center for accuracy of this subject. This was his comments: “I believe the story is accurate, however, let me double check with our Privacy Office to make sure. I will get back to you as soon as I have an answer.” I don’t have anymore details.

  40. Um… This is a GOOD thing. This gives VA and community providers the ability to automatically share records in order to REDUCE wait time and gaps in communication and IMPROVE continuity of care, providing a huge boost in the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of health care delivery. Put down your pitchfork and torch. Veterans will only benefit from this implementation.

  41. Sam,

    Horse shit. Like anything else it will help some, not so much for others. Pity better word-smiths like Dennis and a few others aren’t still around to set some history or things about records straight. You another VA worker? What state are in playing in? Never had any troubles with the VA or civy care or about “emergency” or swift acting file info? Ever lost in some clinic’s care, lost period, lost test results etc.

    You and others think these clowns at the top, DC, board rooms, secretive groups that control the works, activist, legal and illegal criminal types, putting their lists together need permission or some warrant to access any or all your info from birth? You think you’re safe from any illegalities from those community movers and shakers or the corrupt, from those circling their wagons to dish out some retaliation? What have YOU experienced or tried to do besides standing by claiming all is well and will work for ALL, it’s a “good thing” sprinkling fairy dust around… and some Kool-Aid. Can YOU name all those who are merely listed as un-named, non-specific, “affiliates,” “mergers,” agencies, back-ground investigators, “any required law enforcement agencies,” blank “authorities, who and what “community caregivers” etc.

    The kinds of entities that claim their systems aren’t up-dated, in sync, changing, “we will be updating soon, computer systems are down…blah blah. The “a huge boost in the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of health care delivery.” Yeah but they have to use snail mail, no electronic anything but correspondence, takes weeks to get the files delivered to civy care. Then later that “community care” continues on with VA games, providing more activist games, then protected by all when they refuse to release and forward my files to another MD’s office or ‘quality’ care instead of the thuggery, OR to release them to me?! Get real.

    I think one time since all that fine electronic file sharing was implemented years back did I get that timely not so accurate care. Other episodes same thing instead told to drive hundreds of miles to be seen by the VA only. And she was the dentist who did work for Tricare/whatever and VA routinely, AND refused to X-ray the shattered jaw VA dentistry gave me for another going away gift.

    PLUS. It doesn’t help when people have some small, should be smallish issues, with local politics, lying media, the mafias/nepotism, unions, dealing with issues over years back trying to get some justice over some lawyer, judges, mafia member, or politician’s professional gross misconduct that was protected and dumped, etc. Then they hear (some of that privacy ya know) you just entered a clinic for care who’s spouses in local politics just happen to work, and in the same cliques with the same CBOC staff that also leaded information out into certain ears for their own knowing or attempted uses, some thing spread all over tow like I give a shit over, or attempts at black-mail, like they do in DC. Ahhh they think they just ran into a vulnerable spot on their target of the VA and them now. Sweet. Pity they didn’t show no drug or alcohol abuses, no criminality, no being a nasty patient that I’m aware of, but some things in those records and communications are top secret and NOT included in those legal copies of our files they claim we must have access to.

    You new characters need to go back and read earlier discussions on Ben’s blog. Have a nice day in happy land, pet your unicorn for me.

  42. If y’all think the VA is screwing over us. Look what the DMV is doing! All because of a 1994 law!
    *”https://rightonnews.com/2019/09/26/dmvs-making-millions-selling-your-private-personal-data/”*

    I’ll guarantee y’all these aren’t the only government entities selling or giving away personal information!

    • Elf,
      All anyone has to do is search on date mining companies, data mining, or data brokers, etc. It’s been exposed on NPR, MSM on a small level, etc. No-one will report on the darker side or under-belly associations of getting our personal info. Try to get removed from some of these listing or some company that is supposed to “un-list” us but we have to provide more info for them like our full social number, location, parents info, etc.

      That is why years back we were told by veteran’s group’s leadership or national reps to never let the locals have a copy of our DD-214 but it’s now required to prove service time. Due to “stolen valor.” And told it’s on the books as a law or hard requirement to join. Another arena for the locals, the devious, corrupt, and others to get our info. But we’re supposed to trust everybody out there. Especially when some own private detective agencies or companies. What a twist there with hard links and connections within politics, mafia cliques, or the activist. But we live in happy land with no nefarious people out there to do us harm or retaliation.

      Insurance guy told me he got part of my info from the census info pickers plus various companies for a fee. A seniors meeting over scamming warned about clicking links on the internet also may create info, trackers, or files for data miners legal or illegal use. Answering phone scammers or robo calls may do the same thing and to never call them back. Basically saying not to trust anyone or anything today. From gas pump CCard readers, wireless systems, whatever.

      I’d like to see a complete listing of all those out there with access to our info and selling it, governmental or not.

      Gotta go try out a new style for my tin-foil hat with a broader brim and vents. Sure beats those with ass-hats. lol

  43. This seems so innocent till you see who that information can be shared with. This is not just your medical records folks. They can also go into your service records. This happened here in Portland OregonVA. There is a good reason why this is a problem. Imagine your EX girlfriend wants to know where you are going to school at. Or where you are getting Veterans Benefits from. Or just information about your deployments in the past etc.

    With just a few keystrokes, they now have access to your ENTIRE VA Claims and everything else folks. This is not some made up hog wash. I have on tape a man who said outright he was looking at my SERVICE RECORD TO SEE IF I WAS EVER SERVED with the MA’s . This info does not need consent. This is a MAJOR Violation of so many protections of your data, its no longer a mystery why some people have such a hard time getting benefits, or happen to be targeted or their political beliefs.

    They have been using this with laws like Red FLag laws, and so much other stuff to find out who you are. If you take a gander and if their was an audit of who and what agency was accessing the system? You would be floored folks.

    Don’t think for a second that your DATA about you is not a GOLD MINE. Remember, veterans have always been the prime target of Democrats and Liberals and those that hate the fact that we have earned something that they do not have access too.

    So when we try to use these services to improve our lives, and even get health care, many have said they ran into road blocks. This is not a coincidence . Even things like VocRehab Benefits and the use of them have always been hard to manage in some places. Notably, democratic strong holds.

    They know full and well how we vote, and how well we can do if we are given the chance.
    DO NOT let them be the swamp. Get rid of it.

  44. Just another way to destroy us and make us slaves to the globalist!!! Take our weapons, our right to free speech, etc!!! Any MH problems will show up on our data to prevent us from buying a weapon, etc!!! I don’t trust government!!! Social media!!! Unfortunately, we have little choice!!!!

  45. If you speak up you will be retaliated and indited. Its been proven as they protect there criminals and go after any one that complains. VA employee locked up over freedom of speech. Want volunteer at VA must sign agreement you wont talk to media. Daily caller whistle blower hit list everyone gone and guy out Indiana on it. Were done our Insurance sucks but with two many homicides and retaliations along with the VA hiring criminals that can’t work at the post office but are allowed to experiment on veterans. We support this president but his touting of the VA accountability is garbage. Indiana VA took disciplinary action against a cboc nurse for falsifying medical records than gave her a full time job. Psychologist out of Marion was on probation for trashing records and numerous veterans complain he was changing records . Director said they cant just fire people. We have proven everything and they don’t care as they Trump up charges against whistle blowers veterans and the disabled. Remember director of Minnesota got her job back after steeling $130,000. They are 2 faced and don’t care about veterans! VA cop out of California was whistle blowing and VA had medical documents made up of a hospital he never went to to discredit him.

  46. VA goes into your records illegally to discredit you if you run for office proven over and over. I believe there records are fools gold because they are unreliable!

  47. VA is the leading cause of veteran suicide. This was brought up at a town hall VA said ok. There pills cause suicide, There deliberate denials so veteran in crisis say fuck it and off them selves. The imaginary mental health were army ranger dead. Veterans being pushed away all the time as VA is 2 faced. They care my ass. It was also brought up about there cops falsifying and beating up veterans. They offer no solutions and sugar coat everything. Your records are not safe now as VA employees have been caught selling them and its almost impossible to sue over hippa as most lawyers wont even take the case unless its extreme like the guy running for congress . Good luck my fellow veterans the VA has destroyed my life with there incompetence and no accountability. Have all the hearing you want. They are all worthless! Yes 12 million mis diagnoses a year. VA has been caught telling there dr to miss diagnose ptsd, TBI and sexual Trauma to get them off the hook.

    • Already too late for me, people follow me everywhere I go and when I tell someone they want to say that I’m paranoid. It is amazing when a person doesn’t even know you but follow you around. The reason I said that is because that’s what’s happening to me right now. I never told anyone about my medical information but now I’m getting harassed discriminated against. I can tell you not going to say any names but some people on my block has become pretty well off in a short period of time ( all around the same time ) I figured they told VA I was cutting my grass, starting an investigation. I had two decompressions done one on the inside of my L/R foot I can walk but not run. With that said they follow me around in their vehicles with their cell phones and GPS so they know everywhere, I go and be. I use to walk the trails I don’t anymore because they follow me there too. I go to the store they are there too following me and watching what I buy. They sit out in the parking lot with the lights on lol I have gotten to the point where I just laugh
      This is not just civilians doing this our own as well. Started off with two people sitting in a van taking notes
      then graduated to other phases like women following then men then the kids disabled vets then old people dam! they are at my appointments at VA by the way my neighbor seemed to know the conversations going on in my home all arrows point to someone released information from my medical records because I don’t know these people and they don’t personally know me, they seem to be taking their cues from somewhere
      I don’t have a criminal record so I’m not a person of interest I wouldn’t think. I have been to two wars and never ever thought I would be treated like this in my own country I can only imagine how bad it was for our Vietnam Vets. What is this double-dipping crap, I keep hearing this, so if I’m retired and disabled which they take from my retirement check to offset I can’t receive disability this is the crap they peddle to the ill-informed. I tell them to go join then you hear crickets! I know I changed the subject a bit but all that mentioned above points to my records being breached and I would love to know who been in my records multiple times without my consent

  48. Since I was never notified until today (9-29-2019) over this issue!, There is no way I can get A VA Form 10-0484 or New VA Form 10-10164 filed in time. SO I GUESS am out of luck. That really burns my ASS.

  49. yes, letter written 9/5, we received 9/28 and 9/30 is Monday What a bunch of bull. I printed 10-10164 but if I can go through all the “stuff” with the Va on Monday is questionable. There must be an updated form and date to opt out

    • As I posted before go to the VA website and type that in. It’s not in effect till January 2020. There is time check with your medical records department.

  50. My only question is what government agencies. Are they going to be able to say look at someone’s record and take their driver’s license away or even the right to purchase a fire arm because the records state PTSD or TBI or whatever may be deemed disqualifying?

  51. Here is the link to all VA Forms “https://www.va.gov/vaforms/default.asp?CurrentPage=1&orderby=”.

    Now, where is that link that plainly informs patients on what VA is doing for/to them?

    • @ Ben and all,
      I found this link on VA’s webpage. “https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits/va-health-care-and-other-insurance/”

      There is some info that tells about sensitive files and a link to that ruling regarding the mission act in the Federal Register. Ii makes no mention about mh sensitive files.
      It wouldn’t hurt to read the whole thing including the links you might think don’t apply to your situation.

      The Q&A part also has interesting points that have me wondering about new insurance billing and the info sharing. Anyone that opted out recently might be in for a financial surprise with new or changed insurance providers and billing. I think it may be assumed that you’ll have to sign a release for proper insurance billing, but is there only the blanket opt-in or is/will there be an opt-in for certain entities of one’s choosing? Maybe ask your insurance provider about a release form from them for your VA info to obtain proper billing.

      From what assorted VA info I looked at, I think that established medical, financial and research(?) relationships will be kept as they were , but new relationships would be rejected if the VA approves your right to choose what you feel is in YOUR individual best interest.
      Considering this whole issue is also about EHR and the Cerner transition, this link “https://www.ehrm.va.gov/news”, might be of interest.

  52. My husband just waited in line at the Denver VA Medical Center and then was told they would not accept his form until he dated it for tomorrow, Oct 1, 2019 – NOT Sep 30, 2019. She stamped the form dated Oct 1 as well. Now what?

  53. I was able to go to a local VA clinic today and submit the opt out form. They didn’t know anything about it until I tried to explain it to them and show them the form. She had to contact the patient advocate and he directed her to fax the form to Pensacola VA CLINIC. I had her sign that she received it from me with her name and the date, gave me a copy. I also got a copy of the fax confirmation once she faxed it. The vets in the waiting area overheard us; none of them knew anything about this opt out. I brought extra forms printed with me just in case. I ended up giving forms to all the vets in the waiting area. When I finished, I went outside and called our local news station and was trying to explain about all this. I put news person in touch with a fellow vet that is able to explain better than me. They are supposed to call her. I made sure the new station understood that this was time sensitive.
    Don’t know if any of this fixes it, but at least I was able to get the word out to some other veterans who knew nothing about it.

  54. Nothing more but games, This is very dangerous. Sorry we forgot to opt you out, Sorry misplaced your form. Sorry we forgot. Go sign it October first when they open because they will have already have given out everything as 1201 AM . There system is nothing more than a sham. They push veterans away. They are the last ones to help and the first ones to take away your rights

  55. This all sounds like a strong foundation for a class action lawsuit! Fundamentally a violation of “due process;” notice and an opportunity to respond. The published time lines (the Veteran Notification Flyer, EVLER FAQ Sheet, etc.), method of “notice,” effective date of form to be used (“One could argue that submitting the 10-10164 before September 30 may still result in a veteran’s automatic opt-in and then opt-out since the form may lack legal effect until October 2019.”), lack of knowledge by VA ROI officials, etc.

    This has all of the hallmarks, of yet another, “gubment”/VA boondoggle. I can’t help but wonder just how much it has/is costing us taxpayers to roll out the VA “Mission Act” (labor, printing, mailing, administration, etc) over the “Choice Act? Tens of $millions, at least.

  56. Boy, this makes me furious! I guess HIPAA does not apply to the VA! My husband found this info last night, Sept 29th. Guess we are making a trip to the VA today. But this should not be allowed. What a bunch of bull!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. In addition to your comments Deb, the form 10-0484 was faxed the ROI Fax Nbr is 228-523-4922 for the Biloxi VA area………

  58. Talked with the privacy officer in Indiana. He was nice and a vet they will be mailing them to there main office of Marion Indiana that takes care of them. I can tell you VA looses mail all the time. So much of your mail is handed off to different people at the post office. It has gone to wrong states to the wrong address. Than once it enters VA how many people have handled it or lost it. They have found mail 50 years latter behind a mail sorting machine. Good ole government at work. Not only that when the postal service scans a package it may be at the wrong house but its scanned. We have also had them tell us they attempted to deliver things that were never scanned but marked off 3 times attempted. The whole system unreliable!

    • JY, up there too? Didn’t know there was such a thing as “privacy officers” like with other people or positions. Figures.

      Glad you mentioned the mail business too. When a person is considered a problem, a “whistle-blower,” a “crusader” dealing with some nice retaliation networks one can’t tell if its from the attacks as usual that affects everything in life or some screw-ups from trying to do business with the inefficient or corrupt like with mail or some tricksters.

      A veterans “out-reach group” ignored my issues and when I told them of some issues including mail or getting registered mail returned after sitting for over a month expecting word back was stamped..”undeliverable.” All they, any one, has to do is deny delivery until the time is up and it’s sent back unread with the stamps and apparent rough handling. Or signed by someone in sloppy fashion then told no-one with anything close to that name functions in that office or agency. Vet ORG reported all is well and never having issues with the mail, the VA or their mail, or anyone else for that matter and not getting the wrong mail ever. Ha.

      Spring I ordered a antique bible from England, never came. Seller said it’s shipped and scanned. Contacted the post office after months of their games and was told by a super their USPS was great, no problems, no investigations needed, and the item was scanned into their system, it never fails, and was indeed delivered by their carrier. Once they are supposedly scanned and in their system as so, it’s a done deal. Then insinuated I may have stolen my own mail! No problems with mail or theft but local news won’t report on stolen checks and other issues with ‘mail.’

      Mail here is sent out hundreds of miles away to be ‘sorted’ then sent back. Local mail too. To save USPS money… and lost jobs.

      Later summer. I got a big check in the mail thinking it was a medical bill. No, it was a huge check for the ever needy out-reach group. Took it down hand-delivered after taking a photo of it, explained why it was open and about mail issues, some retaliation, community issues, etc. Got the report yeah they get the wrong mail frequently (oops) and another ‘no we still can’t help you don’t want involved,’ a thank you. (I’ve spoken with her before about some issues.) That’s it.

      Nothing as expected from Mike Braun but plenty of requests for donations, etc. Sunday’s local paper full of sections about how great local health care is, how great the community is, how fantastic all medical services are in Indiana/locally, how the best trained health care staff are from here, best of everything, most concerned, the hospital that’s withhold my records and refusing to forward them on to other MDs, etc.

      Oops commercials on about the fight against local “bullying.” Everything is perfect in Indiana, no worries. Records are fine and ethical, we can trust everyone out there including scammers and crooks. And politicians and activist, those whistle-blower haters.

      Such is real life in Indiana. Ouch, truth hurts. In-coming.

  59. A copy of the issues of VA opting everyone in was brought to the attention of the VA committee. Not sure if they will do anything. who knows? By the end of the year were out of VA care. They care more about them selves.

  60. I’m a disabled Army infantry veteran,and I don’t want my information shared with anyone,especially outside agencys,I called my Congressman about it,they knew nothing about it,but did pull it up on their computer,they said that their calling the VA for more information,in other words they’ll do nothing,a class lawsuit needs to be filed an a temporary injunction flied to stop them from sharing information,damned VA .

  61. Benjamin and all, like I have previously mentioned I left the VA 4 years ago. Today I went back. It went well. You will like to hear this. Not only did I turn in the forms to the Release of Information office but I paid the Mental Health Clinic a visit. Two of the same clerks were there with both possibly retiring in the next 3 or 4 years. The psychiatrist who I have been under for years and years was on his lunch break but was soon to arrive back to his office. So I waited and caught him before his next patient. We spoke for a good 15 to 20 minutes. Ben, the conversation was direct and to the point between both of us. The conversation between myself and the Release of Information lady was also direct. I turned in both forms; however, I was not eligible for the Choice program nor am I eligible for the new program based on the mileage criteria. With the ROI, I retracted a direct summary of events as to why I left in my conversation with her. Then I asked her so what was I supposed to do but leave? The ROI lady did not have a response. In the conversation, I interjected humor with the ROI employee while getting my message across. And of course it is not her department at all. I only mentioned it to her as just commenting and told her just that with throwing the situation out there. Anyway, I turned in the forms. The conversation was equal. I believe the outcome was like this because I was directly communicating the substance; but, with allowing her to respond. Conversation on her part was kind of evasive. From my interpretation, the reason is she lacks being in the know. It is not her job. And I am aware of this because once again it goes back to the fact that the VA is compartmentalized. The VA employee only works in her or his own compartmental area. I am informed on the system. Going back to the psych, our conversation was equal here too. I believe he was really surprised of my presentation today compared to 4 years ago. He might have even been dumbfounded. He could see that I am doing extremely well. Better not say this too loud or the VA Central Office might be beating door down. They have made changes. The security was everywhere. Parking was overflowing. Parking garages too. The psych at first thought I might have been back on his case load. I said no I had just stopped by to say hello. I must be losing my mind Ben to top by to say hello to psych. Actually it was not mental health for the reason as to why I left. It was because I had an eye infection and they got my prescription wrong and I could not get an appointment until around 7 months later. Plus primary care issues. My concern with the mental health is psych could not or would not stand up for me. Points to like I have mentioned it is hard to stand for someone or something if one is unsure. So this leads into another topic. It is about further reform is needed so they can better arrive at more substantive decisions. I told the psych the VA could help itself if it would recognize success. This points to the quality in which they reject. Though, Ben, I do not honestly believe after today that it is quality they reject. This is not what is happening. What is happening is there are too many laws and regulations imposed on the VA physicians and nurses by the administration at the top who know very little about medical card. I saw this too in the private sector among patient with govt involvement. Too many regulations, politics, too many computer entries that are needed to suffice the higher ups, insurance companies, and rest of govt strong hold. Ben honestly for the psych to speak to me today shows to me the problem lies in the leadership mostly. Like I have often mentioned many of the VA employees are decent. It is all of this other shit that is contributing to the crap care. For me to apply for Chapter 31, Ben, I almost guarantee you I would have to become a patient again under him. Due to the laws and regulations. This is insane. Actually, before he could vouch for whatever, it has to be documented. See the change is not documented. This is what I meant not only is it about safety and privacy but it is about one sidedness in regards to those records. Kind of lop sided don’t you think? System does not accommodate for change. In other words to move forward in this system, I have to be documented under the psych. Though, I do not need to be under the psych. See the twist now. What am I to do? They have denied the VEAP Conversion to the GI Bill. Denial of Voc rehab. I have come out the other side but I am older. This is sometimes the problem with the workforce. Come out the other side and no decent job yet. And who knows?
    So here you go.
    VA return visit was decent.

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