A couple of things…

Oops, the scheduler didn’t… Sorry…

General Dunford has turned over the mantle of CJCS, and moves into retirement.

This is his farewell message.

General Mark Milley replaced him yesterday. General Milley is a former Green Beret, and I believe that is a first. His official bio is HERE. Like General Dunford, he is a combat veteran, and has led from the front. It will be interesting to watch as he takes the reins.

In other news, I got a letter from the VA about sharing my health information without my consent under certain circumstances.

The weblink is HERE.

And there is an interesting note at the bottom worth reading…

Notice to Veterans: The VA Health Information Exchange Opt Out Form, VA Form 10-10164, is now available online at www.va.gov, on this website, or in Release of Information Office (ROI) at VA medical centers.  The form must be signed, mailed and/or hand carried to a Veteran’s local Release of Information Office.  VA Form 10-0484 will expire September 30, 2019 and the new form VA 10-10164, will need to be submitted.  Currently, there are no means of submitting the form electronically.   
VA Systems will begin opting all Veterans into health information sharing, beginning January 2020.

It is incumbent on you, as veterans, to make your own decisions on whether or not to allow your health information to be shared. What you decide is YOUR business, not mine or anyone else’s other than your spouse (for worst case scenarios).


A couple of things… — 13 Comments

  1. Hrmmmm. If it was just health info, it wouldn’t be bad. But the VA and other agencies consider such things like the patient answering if they have guns at home as a valid health question (due to suicide or potential homicide risks associated with certain side effects of meds or mental health issues.)

    Think long and hard about this before allowing your health info to be shared. Much can be gleaned from your records just by knowing what meds you have been prescribed historically. Which can be scary, because some mental health drugs are used for other things besides mental health, and you don’t want people assuming things.

    It wouldn’t hurt you as the person to keep a written med history of all operations, issues and med allergies for you and yours handy. Separate lists of current meds (but take the bottles anyways, because they never listen) just in case a sudden trip to the emergency room that looks like it may result in a stay (not a cut boo-boo, more like a heart attack or something serious.)

    My current family doc has privileges at the hospital we frequent. Which, because CFD is a smart guy, is good, as he is able to edit stupid attending notes and keep out stupid stuff that doesn’t pertain to the actual issue, oh, like when one’s kidneys stop and body fills with meds, a doctor saying that the patient is only in because patient can’t manage one’s sugars, not addressing the whole kidney issue (seriously, for you diabetics out there, pain and illness do more to spike blood sugars than does a decent diet. Like for every 1 degree over, add 50 whatevs to your normal blood sugar readings, well, at least as to someone I know, results may vary…)

    Be careful about sharing info. It can be misinterpreted or used against you. This is the Government we’re talking about, and right now the bureaucrats don’t really have a good track record going about doing things properly, morally or right or all three. (Yes, I’ve seen things done properly that weren’t moral or right, and vice-versa. It’s the Government…)

  2. It’s better to make something this critical and intrusive an opt-in, not an opt-out. Unless you read that third para carefully, it can make you eye-glaze past the notification. The bureaucrats can then say with a straight face that you had your choice and didn’t opt out. That is plain wrong, with a large side heaping of potential danger. I’ll be interested to hear when someone bring this up to the ombudsman, IG, or Assistant Secretary level.

  3. Don’t share anything.

    Remember that Pelosi leads the House of Representatives and that the takes direction from “The Squad”, Al Green and freaky Schiff.

  4. I’m not entangled with this, so perhaps I can have a more objective perspective.

    Large bureaucracy, so this would take a lot of oomph-time to set up. This apparently hasn’t been going on so long that veterans already know about it from the grapevine, so recent.

    What is pushing this? Hard to say. a) cost saving pushed within the VA. b) like a, but a minimal path of effort response to a reform push from outside. c) Something seen as a backdoor path to implementation of Obamacare or similar impulse d) some bit of statist nonsense, like maybe surveillance of veterans* e)Trump has pushed through an initiative to help veterans.

    Best to make sure to opt out, unless you /know/ that you will be using the non-VHA providers via this system. Even the best intentions can go badly, and this sounds dangerous enough to stay away from until things are clearer.

    *Call me paranoid. Consider the forecasts of civil war in 2020. Veterans are a big source of neutrals/moderates who could potentially intervene in an escalating situation, and potentially tamp things out or make peace more easily restorable. If one is planning to use Antifa to bring the revolution, and one was thinking well enough to anticipate and head off problems, veterans are a problem. This is potentially part of a system that could neutralize veterans. Now, I don’t really buy having all the moving parts working well by November, but thinking well isn’t thinking perfectly, and it could be working by 2024. If Trump doesn’t pay attention during the election, and is too crippled after.

  5. The biggest items that Non-VA providers are looking for when they look at your medical record are what are your current meds, current allergies, current/history of surgical procedures and recent hospitalizations. Like Beans said above–get out the 3×5 cards, do one up of each of the above categories, update them when ya change the clocks, or when you go see your regular family doc, and carry 1 set for you, and 1 set for your dearly beloved in your wallet and have dearly beloved do the same. That way, no matter what happens, you have copies to hand the EMTs when needed, and you still have a copy for your own records. I can not begin to tell you what a help it is when folks have these records. Especially when someone has had a bunch of med changes, or developed new allergies, or had a couple months of rotating in and out of the hospital.
    And, no, if I was me, I would opt-out as well. But that is just me. Do what works best for you and your.

  6. With all the PITA moving medical records, having to stand behind “yellow lines”, extra release paperwork on the victims, er, ah, patients – one wonders just where the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Privacy Rule therein, comes into play. If the information is Privacy Health Information (PHI), it should be restricted and released by the patient’s (or guardian’s) consent.
    They’ve got it bass-ackwards: The system should be opt-in for sharing information, not opt-out. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. My info, my control.
    At times like this, I’m glad I’ve not availed myself of VA services, what with everyone’s horror stories.

  7. To amplify what Suz said above, the following are indeed important:
    1. Past medical/surgical history
    2. Medications (this means, name of drug, DOSE, and frequency); also supplements if you take those regularly
    3. Medication allergies/intolerances (write NKDA = no known drug allergies if you don’t have any known problems here)
    4. Contact info for your primary care provider and usual hospital; contact info for the person who has your medical power-of-attorney.

    In addition to those items above, one might consider putting relevant documents/images on a keychain USB flash drive or an SD memory card you keep in your wallet. These might include:
    1. recent ECG (same thing as EKG) — you can usually get your ECG as a PDF file if you ask; a high quality scan or photo of a printed ECG works as well. This is particularly helpful if you have some baseline ECG abnormality — we care about deviations from normal of course, but CHANGES from YOUR baseline are also important.
    2. if you have relevant imaging results (i.e. there is some pre-existing condition people should know about) you could put a copy here as well. These would be things such as plain-film xray, head/brain MRI or CT, cardiac catheterization cines.
    3. If you’ve had a heart bypass or coronary stents put in, and you end up, God forbid, in some unfamiliar ER with suspicious chest pain, the local cardiologists will want to know the anatomy (where the stents are and how many/what kind; where your bypass grafts are). These are documented in your surgical or cath lab report. Put a copy of the report (plus actual images if you can get them) on the flash drive.

  8. What an uplifting video. Thanks.

    Hmmm. That sounds like *spam but isn’t…

  9. Not sorry one tiny bit to see Dunford go. It’s time and past time to get that particular weasel out of the hen house.