The VA MISSION Act, which was implemented June 6, gave more options to veterans and, beginning January 2020, VA will be able to share veterans' health information electronically with participating community care providers.
“The MISSION Act gives veterans greater access to care, whether at VA facilities or in the community,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “We are providing seamless access to care, improving efficiency and helping to ensure veterans get the care they need, where and when they need it.”
The new change will be more convenient for veterans, who will no longer need to provide signed, written authorization for VA to release health information to their community providers for treatment purposes.
Electronically sharing health information between providers not only saves time and improves care but improves patient safety — particularly during emergency situations — and allows for improved care coordination for veterans receiving care in the community.
If security is a concern, veterans can rest assured that the VA shares information with community providers using a secure and safe electronic system called the Veterans Health Information Exchange and is committed to protecting veteran privacy.
Only community health care providers and organizations who have partnership agreements with VA and are part of VA's approved, trusted network may receive VA health information.
The new change moves VA from an 'opt-in' to an 'opt-out' model of electronic health information sharing. Veterans may opt out of sharing their information at any time by returning VA Form 10-10164 to the Release of Information Office at any VA medical center or by mail.
Those who opted out prior to Sept. 30 do not need to submit new forms. However, veterans who restricted what information VA shared will need to opt out entirely by submitting the new form.
If a veteran chooses not to share his or her health information electronically, VA will not release any of their health information electronically to community providers. However, if an Emergency Department provider requests records, information will be shared even if a veteran has opted out of sharing.
Traditional paper forms will remain available for sharing whether veterans prefer to share or not share electronically. A veteran's decision not to not share will not stop the veteran from receiving VA health care or affect their relationship with his or her VA provider.
For more information on the MISSION Act, please call (918) 577-3000 and press Option 2.