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house Bill H.R. 512

Would Letting Certified Congressional Employees Access VA Health Records Help Vets Get Their Benefits Faster?

Argument in favor

Letting Congressional employees access VA health records would ensure that veterans’ voices are heard while avoiding delays and problems occurring at the VA that keep vets from their benefits.

John's Opinion
···
02/13/2017
Veteran liaisons that work in congressional offices are inundated with complaints about the VA and they help open casework for those constituents and deal directly with the VA on behalf of the veteran. You sign a privacy act release form giving the liaisons the legal ability to deal with them for you. In certain situations this could help the veteran obtain benefits faster and become a check and balance that would keep the VA honest with the patient. Obviously there would have to be restrictions and regulations. But overall it would benefit more than what is in place now.
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Sean's Opinion
···
02/14/2017
Ok, I'm a veteran; all of the people that are rambling and babbling about how this is an invasion of privacy is not real intelligent. I will keep this in infantry terms since I'm an ex-infantryman. Did you read the more info of the bill before commenting? Have you ever filed a VA claim? Have you been in the VA system long enough to understand what a Congressional Investigation is? So, I'll break some of this down for all of you naysayers! The VA is a broken machine and sometimes needs an elected officials office to step in to fix it. So, here's the process, service member gets out, files VA claim, and doesn't get what they deserve (in most cases). Most veterans use a representative to help process the claim (for best chance of success), only about 10 percent do it themselves with no help. When I retired I used a representative to file my claim. You give this person complete access to your C-file (if you don't know what this is, please don't comment). The rep you select will look through it, process and help write the claims, then send it to the VA. Recently I have filed more claims. Also using another representative. Did the same thing; gave them my C-file and updated medical records. Now, how many of these representative are Medical Professionals? None at most. There may be one who was a medical professional at my best guess. But, they maintain a security clearance. In this bill, you have to agree to this ACCREDITED person to have access. If you have the skills, or a lawyer to navigate through the VA without help, don't give access. But don't be a naysayer and stop others from getting help through congressional investigations.
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operaman's Opinion
···
02/12/2017
I like this idea. Complaining to your congressman may have more bite and quicker aid on a Veteran issue. Similar to lighting a match under the VA's collective ass.
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Argument opposed

The VA already has established lines of communication with Congress and staffers, there’s no need to give Congressional employees direct access to VA health records to deal with cases.

Judy's Opinion
···
02/12/2017
This would go against medical confidentiality laws. And it could be used in more dangerous ways than we can brainstorm here. The safest bet is to get the veteran to give consent to sharing his/her records for a specific request rather than just opening up access more broadly.
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David's Opinion
···
02/12/2017
This proposal is just so much cosmetic bullshit. The only thing that is going to improve the VA's performance is to have Congress fund it sufficiently.
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Jeff's Opinion
···
02/12/2017
Allowing access to confidential health records is not the answer. As a veteran I'm appalled to think someone thinks allowing more unqualified individuals access to this data can possible help. Go back and fix the VA right.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed February 13th, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 12th, 2017

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    Veteran liaisons that work in congressional offices are inundated with complaints about the VA and they help open casework for those constituents and deal directly with the VA on behalf of the veteran. You sign a privacy act release form giving the liaisons the legal ability to deal with them for you. In certain situations this could help the veteran obtain benefits faster and become a check and balance that would keep the VA honest with the patient. Obviously there would have to be restrictions and regulations. But overall it would benefit more than what is in place now.
    Like (31)
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    This would go against medical confidentiality laws. And it could be used in more dangerous ways than we can brainstorm here. The safest bet is to get the veteran to give consent to sharing his/her records for a specific request rather than just opening up access more broadly.
    Like (591)
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    This proposal is just so much cosmetic bullshit. The only thing that is going to improve the VA's performance is to have Congress fund it sufficiently.
    Like (425)
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    Allowing access to confidential health records is not the answer. As a veteran I'm appalled to think someone thinks allowing more unqualified individuals access to this data can possible help. Go back and fix the VA right.
    Like (307)
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    As a Veteran I do not want anyone but my Healthcare provider to have access to my records. There are better ways to ensure timely services without breaching confidentiality.
    Like (216)
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    I'd like to better understand the nature of the access and the Privacy protections. I'd like to be sure that access was limited to data on Vets who contacted a Rep with a request for help; that clear audit trail exists to monitor who is accessing what records and that The elected Congressperson is held accountable for their staffs behavior and subject to sanctions & penalties like those under HIPAA.
    Like (109)
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    No! No! No! These are political people whose jobs depend on elected bias. Do NOT compromise veterans health information.
    Like (100)
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    If Congressional employees need access, they can get permission to access records from the military member, just like doctors would do. This is a clear HIPAA violation. I worry it could be misused for dishonorable purposes.
    Like (87)
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    Want to solve the issues with the VA? Fund the department so that it can handle the case load that it must deal with. If beuracracy is still the issue make it easier to file claims, but again this falls back on appropriating the funding necessary to care for our Veterans.
    Like (62)
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    Congress should fund health services for our veterans without having to look at confidential medical records.
    Like (45)
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    Medical records are confidential despite how much Congress may want to look through them for political advantage.
    Like (42)
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    The cost of paying the certified congressional reps who would review the records should be directed to VA benefits. This bill invades the medical privacy of veterans. It's clear there is a problem in vets getting appropriate treatment expeditiously. Thus, the focus should be on the solution such as increasing availability of doctors and treatment centers rather than further delaying by having the government slow down treatment with medical file review.
    Like (38)
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    How about instead of further bogging down the VA and prolonging an already exhaustive process that Veteran's have to endure before receiving their benefits, how about instead Congress and their staffers place a greater sense of urgency in helping Veteran's obtain the combat awards they were approved for but never received. When I served as an Infantry Officer, I seen it time and again where Soldiers who had fought in Iraq or Afghanistan had been put in for one award or another, had it approved but never receive it. Soldiers who have earned a Combat Infantryman Badge, a Bronze Star or Army Commendation Medal, even a Purple Heart. Hell, I even know one Soldier who had his entire Enlisted Record Book go missing. His entire career, everything he accomplished, his schools, his deployments, all of it, just gone. There was nothing on record to show for his years of service. So instead of politicking over an issue that has been already addressed without any real tangible progress being made, how about some work gets done to address an issue that has gone practically unnoticed but yet does a greater injustice to our Veterans.
    Like (32)
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    Get your grubby little hands off of confidential information. It is none of your business. Why does the system that's in place take so much time anyway? I think this could be fixed in a different way.
    Like (28)
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    Ok, I'm a veteran; all of the people that are rambling and babbling about how this is an invasion of privacy is not real intelligent. I will keep this in infantry terms since I'm an ex-infantryman. Did you read the more info of the bill before commenting? Have you ever filed a VA claim? Have you been in the VA system long enough to understand what a Congressional Investigation is? So, I'll break some of this down for all of you naysayers! The VA is a broken machine and sometimes needs an elected officials office to step in to fix it. So, here's the process, service member gets out, files VA claim, and doesn't get what they deserve (in most cases). Most veterans use a representative to help process the claim (for best chance of success), only about 10 percent do it themselves with no help. When I retired I used a representative to file my claim. You give this person complete access to your C-file (if you don't know what this is, please don't comment). The rep you select will look through it, process and help write the claims, then send it to the VA. Recently I have filed more claims. Also using another representative. Did the same thing; gave them my C-file and updated medical records. Now, how many of these representative are Medical Professionals? None at most. There may be one who was a medical professional at my best guess. But, they maintain a security clearance. In this bill, you have to agree to this ACCREDITED person to have access. If you have the skills, or a lawyer to navigate through the VA without help, don't give access. But don't be a naysayer and stop others from getting help through congressional investigations.
    Like (20)
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    Only qualified healthcare professionals and the veterans (and those he/she specifically identifies) should have access to healthcare records. Just because these patients are veterans, they should not lose their rights to privacy.
    Like (18)
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    No. Just no. My record is no concern of a politician. If they want to ask my consent to speed along a specific issue, we'll talk.
    Like (13)
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    I like this idea. Complaining to your congressman may have more bite and quicker aid on a Veteran issue. Similar to lighting a match under the VA's collective ass.
    Like (12)
    Follow
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    Absolutely no way any bureaucrats get access to medical records of anyone! Incompetence at its greatest!
    Like (11)
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    Many veterans don't have access to their own records. It doesn't require snooping in people's records to find ways to help people.
    Like (9)
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