Did You Know That Veterans Military and the Department of VA Medical Records Are Shared With Private Healthcare Providers Nationwide, Without Millions of Veterans’ Permission?

May 20, 2024

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In this edition of Home Front, we will educate our APWU Veterans Membership about the devious VA health care laws created by the Trump-era MISSION Act, which are designed to legally privatize VA health care, while destroying the federal government privacy laws for release of military and VA healthcare medical records.

On June 6, 2018, then President Donald Trump signed the MISSION Act into law for VA health care. In January 2019, the veterans’ notification flyer was posted on the va.gov Veterans Health Information Exchange with the following:

Five Things You Need to Know About Sharing Your Health Information

  1. The VA MISSION Act allows the VA to now share your health information with participating community care providers, for your care and treatment as permitted by federal privacy law.
  2. Rest assured your health information is safe and secure, as it moves from the VA to participating Community Care providers. The VA uses a secure network called the Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE) to protect and easily share your health records information with other private community care providers nationwide in real time.
  3. Sharing your health records information without the need for your permission saves you time and improves your health.
  4. You can always opt-out of sharing your information. If you don’t want to share your Health Record Information electronically, complete and return VA Form 10-10164 Opt-Out of Sharing your Records Information to the Release of Medical Records Information (ROI) Office at your local VA Medical Center, or by mail. If a Community Care provider requests your records in an emergency, your health records information will be shared, even if you have opted out of sharing. If you opted out of sharing, but changed your mind, you can opt back in, and authorize the VA to share your health records information by completing and returning VA Form 10-10163 Request for and Permission to Participate in Sharing Protected Health Information through Health Information Exchanges to your local ROI office or by mail.
  5. There is no deadline to submit your Form 10-10164. You can submit your Form 10-10164 at any time. If you submitted Form 10-0484 before Sept. 30, 2019, you do not need to submit Form 10-10164.

VA Form 10-10164 Clearly States the Following:

“By completing this form, you are requesting to be opted out of health information exchanges (HIE) for treatment purposes. HIE allows health care professionals and patients to access, and securely share a patient’s protected health records information electronically. HIE enables the VA to share VA and military medical records information with Community Care providers, and other HIE partners. “Opt-out” means that none of your health records history can be shared through HIE for your treatment, except in a life-threatening medical emergency.”

Sad indeed. We wonder, how many of our APWU veterans’ family knew that a law was created that allowed their military and VA health care records to be released to private healthcare providers electronically, without their permission? Our goal is to keep our APWU veterans informed and updated on Veterans Benefits information. ■

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