VA Says No to Posting Medical Records Online
October 5, 2010 – U.S. Representative Joe Sestak (D-Pa) introduced the Transparency for America’s Heroes Act (HR 3843). If passed, the Department of Veterans Affairs would be required to post medical quality assurance records online on the VA’s website. Despite the records being posted only after the removal of patients’ information, the VA vehemently opposes the bill as they believe passing it would lead to:
- A violation of patient confidentiality; and
- A reduction in the likeliness of health care workers to report any errors or mistakes.
Rep. Sestak recently testified in front of the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s health panel. In his testimony, Rep. Sestak stated the Transparency for America’s Heroes Act was his answer to “revelations of substandard care” within the VA’s health care system. Sestak cited to two specific problems, one being the VA’s recent issues with using unsterilized equipment in multiple medical clinics, and the other being more recent stories of what can only be referred to as abuse of patients and dreadful environments.
It is believed, then, requiring the VA to post such information online will curb such behavior. There should be nothing lacking with the VA’s focus on providing top-notch health care in every VA clinic and medical facility. Posting the medical records online would alert everyone to the areas where the VA is failing and the overall level of health care they are providing per facility.
The VA, however, believes there is no guarantee that patient confidentiality will not be breached. Although the VA supports providing the best possible health care to veterans, they also believe people will stop freely reporting problems as they arise for fear of reprisal. Either way, the issue won’t be decided until at the very earliest, November.