Friday, July 07, 2006

VA Medical Center and Information

Government Agency’s get into a rut where individuals fill out forms just for the sake of filling out forms. Over the years I have questioned many requests for information. In more cases than not, the information being requested was not required, but the government employee vigorously stated it was.

Some time ago I went to the Fort Wayne VA Medical Center for treatment for my service connected injuries and was denied treatment. The reason was I had to update my information. This information required I provide a list of all assets, IRA, 401K, equities, collections (coins, stamps), jewelry etc. This information I was told was required and if not provided, I would not receive treatment for my service-related injuries.

The privacy act of 1974 requires any government agency requesting information to first identify if the request is voluntary or mandatory and if mandatory, the federal statute or executive order that authorizes it.

I called Washington, DC and was told I did not have to provide financial information to be seen for my service connected injuries. However, providing this information would allow me to be seen for treatment not related to my service connected injuries based a means-tested basis or ability to pay.

I called the local VA Medical Center and was told to come in Thursday morning and Glenda would help process my paper work. When I got to the VA Medical Center, the same woman who would not help me the first time was there. She stated the same BS this time as she did the first time. She said Glenda would tell me the very same thing. Glenda was a very nice and helpful person. She took my information that was need, excluding financial and I was done. My old purple and white plastic ID card that said “Priority Service” was replaced.

The "moral" of this is question what information people request from you. If they say it is, question why and what authorization requires it. Just because a government agency says it is required, does not make it so. More often than not I find government agencies requesting more information than they actually have authorization to collect. Be vigilant.

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