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glashutte

Privacy of Medical Records at the VA

Question

Hi All,

I wasn't sure where to post this question but here it goes. 

How private is our medical records at the VA and when submitting VA claims? When we are employed by our future employer, do they have access to this?

What if we were looking for a position at the VA Hospital itself? Can the VA hospital look up our medical records and rating?

 

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Officially, no one can view your medical records except:

1.  With your permission.

2.  With a court order.  

     If you consented to your employer seeing your medical records, then, yes, they can view them.   This often happens when you apply, especially if "medical issues" could affect their hiring decision.  Example:  NFL players play football "only when" the team doctor decides they are ready to play.  If the team doc says your not ready, for whatever reason, you wont be put in the game, and probably wont be allowed to participate in practice, unless the doctor so allowed it.  

     In a similar way, your employer may have physical or mental requirements, and expect you to release your medical records or not be considered for hire.  

    In as much as we dont like that, your employer can require you be physically and or mentally healthy enough to do your job.  

    Some employers can require a physical before hiring.  

     If you have signed a consent form, that would not necessarily expire, unless you limited the time of consent to release your records.  

     Example (which is not to suggest this is you):  

     You sign a consent form when you are hired, to  release medical records.  Later, you tell your doctor you are stuggling with alcohol, or meth addictions.  

      Since you signed the consent form, the employer could use this information to fire you, especially if they have a "zero tolerance" for addicting substances policy.  This would be at the employers discretion.  

       However, if your doctor prescribed ED medications, your boss isnt allowed to use this information to harass or insult you with.  

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I can tell you that when I applied to work at the Post Office I claimed Veteran Preference. When I was interviewed I was asked what my disability was, I told them my back. The interviewer used this information to deny me employment. When I did finally get a federal job, I was asked was there anything that would keep me from doing the job I was hired to do, I stated no. Later, when I got sick because of a cold computer room ( temp kept at 68) My doctor wrote a note that stated my room temp must remain between 72- 74 because of my lungs.( service connected) The human resources tired to use this against me, saying I had lied when I got hired. Later the Director of the DOIM determined that the temp in the Computer room did not have to be so low, and I was removed from admin leave back to duty when they raised the temp. When I re- injured my  back, and ended up with drop foot, my doctor wrote a letter that I could not climb stairs. I was medically retired..... So to the question, who has access to your medical records, legally no one, but  the government can still get rid you if your medical conditions prevent you from doing your job.

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No, no one can read your records without your permission but be careful who you sign releases for.  I had a private physician and was being seen at the VA.  When the VA diagnosised me with borderline personality disorder and somatoform disorder they felt it necessary to release this to my private physician.  The diagnosis was later changed to PTSD but it could have been very uncomfortable had my doctor not been understanding. 

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Guest L

I attended a town hall at the VA in Texas for Women Veterans. I was given an 8 page "notice" who can use or disclosed.... MY VA information.... if anyone wants the similar document - call your "Privacy" office in local VA - YOU must request a restriction in writing.... for the VA NOT to release.... enlightening...... F Y I

Edited by L

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Great advice everyone! I will request a restriction to release records from the VA in writing like guest suggested

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