Correspondance / Record Request
The Correspondence Section is located in the hospital (building 7777) 3rd floor, Room 3223, near the Admissions and Dispositions Office. The Correspondence Section receives requests for medical information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has changed the term medical information to Protected Health Information (PHI). Examples of PHI are inpatient; outpatient; same day surgery; emergency room reports; obstetrical records; temporary disability insurance; medical statements; lab or x-ray CHAMPUS, or other outside physicians; retrieval of medical information from other hospitals or physicians; PCS/ETS; the Veterans Administration Regional Office, and personal copies of PHI. PHI cannot be released until the appropriate authorization or disclosure form is completed. The Correspondence Section is open to serve the public five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 0900-1400.
Correspondence Section / Release of PHI
- In order to protect your PHI and that of your family members, PHI will not be released to spouses without patient ID card, a power of attorney that specifically includes the disclosure of PHI and/ or patient signature on the DD Form 2870 Authorization for Disclosure of Medical or Dental Information, which is a disclosure form authorizing release to a designated family member and/or individual.
- Under normal conditions, PHI may be released to parents of minors who are under the age of 18, however, their may be instances where a disclosure will be required of the minor.
- Telephone requests for PHI cannot be honored.
- Faxed requests will only be honored in emergent cases, i.e., where a patient has been admitted to another healthcare facility and information about the patient’s previous health care conditions and treatment is needed to treat the patient’s current medical condition, or for continuity of care. Routine release of PHI is provided on a first come, first out basis, however, exceptions may be necessary based upon the urgency of the need for PHI and the effect of not providing the PHI on the patient health.
- Much of the medical information (PHI) currently generated when outpatient care is received is entered into an electronic hospital system known as the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology (AHLTA). Since the military medical records maintained at this facility are composed of both written and electronic records, these records are referred to as “hybrid” records. When a request for PHI is received, research is performed to assure that all episodes of care are located to provide a comprehensive response to each PHI request. Once all requested PHI is obtained, documentation must be copied and printed off the system to satisfy each request for PHI. Emergency room documentation is not entered into an electronic hospital system, therefore, the PHI requested may not be readily available, and time must be allotted to research each request. Due to the large volume of requests, and our efforts to provide a comprehensive response to each requestor, same day service cannot be provided.
- Requests for PHI for patients who have received mental health treatment require approval of the mental health care provider prior to release.
- Insurance companies are charged a fee for copies of PHI. Patients requesting PHI for personal use will be provided with one free copy, however, they will be charged a fee for subsequent requests for copies for the same PHI that was previously released. Medical documentation generated since the last request for PHI will be given free of charge.
- Under normal circumstances, active duty are given priority in the processing of their requests for copies of their medical records/PHI.
- Patients who have orders to PCS or who will leaving the service, i.e., Expiration of Term of Service (ETS), must visit the Correspondence Section for copies of their health/outpatient treatment records at least one month before their date of departure. Active Duty military patients who are retiring should also request a copy of their records at least one month in advance. The turn-around time for copies of records for patients who are retiring is five (5) working days.
- Convenience files are not copied.
Medical records on patients are only maintained at a military treatment facility for a certain number of years based upon army regulations. Outpatient records are maintained for three (3) years after the last date of treatment. Inpatient treatment records and Ambulatory Procedure Visit records are maintained for five years after the last date of hospitalization. If you were seen as an outpatient or hospitalized as an inpatient or had an ambulatory procedure within the time frames discussed above, your records will be updated and retained at the hospital. If you haven’t received outpatient care within three years of the last date of treatment or if you have not been hospitalized within the five years of the last date of hospitalization or received treatment as an ambulatory procedure visit patient, your records will be retired. These records are retired according to the last date of treatment and shipped to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri. If you need a copy of those records, you must request them directly from the NPRC. When you request medical records from the NPRC, you must provide them with the sponsor’s Social Security Number or military number if prior to 1971. If possible, be as specific as you can about the date and location of your last period of treatment. This will aid the NPRC in locating your medical records. The address for the NPRC is as follows:
National Personnel Record Center
9700 Page Blvd
St. Louis, Mo 63132
Phone: 314 801-9195
National Personnel Record Center
11 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, Mo 63118
Fax: 314 801-9269
If you have any questions, please contact 915 569-1996 / 1569 / 2400
Release of PHI to attorneys, Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Medical Claims Judge Advocate
The Correspondence Section/Medical/Legal Office is located in the Bradley Building, 4th floor. The Medical/Legal Office receives requests for PHI from the Office of the Judge Advocate, the Medical Claims Judge Advocate and law enforcement agencies. This office also receives requests for PHI in the form of subpoenas, requests from attorneys, Commanders, and criminal investigators. Release of PHI to requestors is strictly governed by HIPAA provisions and military regulations. A fee is charged for PHI provided to attorneys. If you have any questions, please contact 915 569-1996 or 915 569-3375.