► 38 = Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief
► § = Section
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) spells out specific procedures for veterans to request a correction, called an "amendment" by VHA. The procedures also assign responsibility for making corrections to specific VHA personnel.2,3
10 Steps to Correct VA Medical Records
Step #1. According to VA, you should send a letter: "... stating explicitly what information is in contention and why, i.e., inaccurate or erroneous, irrelevant, untimely, or incomplete."4
→ In plain language, tell VA what they got wrong, and what the record should say.
Step #2. If possible, include with your letter a printed copy of the doctor's note (or whatever the record is), and circle or highlight the sentence, paragraph, or other aspect of the record that is not correct.
Step #3. Include in your letter:
your full name, including your middle name;5
your date of birth;
your Social Security number; and the
date you are writing the letter.
Step #4. If for some reason you cannot include a printed copy of the medical record, be as specific as possible describing the specific medical record with the mistake, such as the ...
date of the medical record;
time of day;
name of the clinic or service;
doctor or other clinician's full name;
type of visit, e.g., "annual physical" or "psychotherapy group".
Step #5. Sign your letter in ink. (continued below ...)
The image immediately below is a SAMPLE envelope. It does not refer to an actual veteran—I invented the name and address.
SAMPLE envelope addressed to a VA HCS Privacy Officer. The name and address does *not* represent an actual person. The veteran's name and address is *fictitious*.
... 10 Steps to Correct VA Medical Records (continued)
Step #6. Make three copies of your letter, just in case you need them later.
Step #7. Address your letter to "ATTN: Privacy Officer", followed by the mailing address for your local VA Medical Center (VAMC) or VAHCS (VA Health Care System).
Do you see your doctor at a CBOC?
Every CBOC is attached to a VAMC or VAHCS. You need to mail your letter to the VAMC or VAHCS affiliated with your CBOC.
If you do not know to which VAMC or VAHCS your CBOC is attached, search for the name of your CBOC and you should be able to figure it out. (Or call the CBOC to ask.)
Mail to "ATTN: Privacy Officer"
You can try to find the Privacy Officer's name and an exact mailing address for him or her, but that often turns out to be an exercise in futility.6 You do not have to know their name. Just mail to "ATTN: Privacy Officer".
Thus, address your letter to "ATTN: Privacy Officer" at your medical center's mailing address. (If you search Google for "VA medical center" you will usually find the mailing address. Add the name of the city if needed.)
Step #8. Send a copy of your signed letter to "Chief, Health Information Management Services" at the same address.
U.S. Postal Service - Return Receipt Green Postcard for Certified Mail
Step #9. If you can, use a PRINTER to print the address on an envelope, so that the address is clear and easy to read.
But if it will take a long time to find a printer, just hand-address the envelope with neat handwriting. It will still get there.
If you are not sure how to do that, go to the Post Office at a time when it is less busy and ask the clerk for help. You might tell the clerk you are a veteran as most folks like to help veterans, and many U.S. Postal Service employees are veterans too.
Certified Mail with Return Receipt services cost more—an extra $6.40—but are well worth it because you will have proof that VA received your letter.
Quick Summary: How to Correct VA Medical Records
» Type or neatly write a letter explaining VA's specific error(s) and how how their error should be corrected.
» Address your letter to "ATTN: Privacy Officer" at your VAMC or VAHCS, and send a copy of the letter to "Chief, Health Information Management Services".
The image immediately below is a SAMPLE letter. It is not a genuine letter—I made up the name and the doctor's note. To emphasize: the letter below is entirely concocted; I invented the name and address of the fictitious veteran.
Sample (fictitious) letter to correct VA Medical Records (*not* a real veteran's name or address).
CC BY 4.0? Creative Commons License?
CC BY 4.0 is an abbreviation for "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License".
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.
Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
Under the following terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. Here is an example of proper attribution:
If you post one or more of these Letter Templates on a website or blog—which I encourage you to do—here is HTML markup (code) you can copy-and-paste into your web page for the attribution:
<p style="font-size: 15px; font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-weight: normal;">These "Letter Templates to Correct VA Medical Records" were created by <a href="https://www.drworthen.net/" rel="cc:attributionURL">Mark D Worthen PsyD</a>; published on <a title="PTSDexams.net" href="https://www.ptsdexams.net/correct-va-medical-records.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PTSDexams.net</a>; and are licensed under a <a title="Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="license noopener">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a>.</p>
Download Letter Templates
These templates look like the one above, and are designed to help you write a letter to correct VA medical records:
Ο I printed three copies of the doctor's note (or whatever the record is), and I circled or highlighted the sentence, paragraph, or other aspect of the record that is not correct.
My letter contains my: Ο Full Name Ο Date of Birth Ο Social Security Number
I describe the specific medical record containing the mistake, including: Ο date of the medical record Ο time of day (if available) Ο name of the clinic or service (if known) Ο doctor or other clinician's full name Ο type of visit, for example, "annual physical" or "group therapy"
Ο I know the mailing address for my local VA Medical Center (VAMC), sometimes called a "VA Health Care System" (VAHCS). (If I go to a Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), I have the mailing address for the VAMC or VAHCS to which the CBOC is attached.)
Ο I signed my letter in ink.
Ο I made three copies of the signed letter.
Ο I have addressed two envelopes, both to be mailed to my local VAMC or VAHCS, the original signed letter to be mailed to "ATTN: Privacy Officer" and a copy of the signed letter to "Chief, Health Information Management Services".
Ο I plan to mail both letters at a U.S. Post Office where I send them First Class, Certified Mail, Return Receipt. I understand this will cost about $6.40 for each letter.
You should regularly review your Department of Veterans Affairs medical record for at least these seven reasons. Remember that the VA makes it easy to review your patient records with My HealtheVet.
1. Make sure you remember your doctor's recommendations, including anything you were supposed to do.
Example: "Am I supposed to fast for 12 hours before my lab test tomorrow?"
2. Double check the "dosing schedule" for your medications.
Example: "Did the pharmacy type this correctly on the label: 'Take two tablets twice a day, and then three tablets once a day'?"
3. Look up the name and dosage of a new medicine you're taking.
Example: "My private psychologist asked me the name of the new antidepressant I'm taking. I don't have my prescription bottle with me, but I can look it up on MyHealtheVet!"
4. Check lab test results.
Example: "I wonder if my cholesterol has gone down since I started this Paleo diet?"
5. Print out your medical records for a private doctor you will be seeing. (Or give your private doctor electronic access via Blue Button.)
6. Review your VA medical records before filing a VA disability benefits claim.
Example: "I started getting depressed after I was diagnosed with cancer - even before I started radiation treatments and chemotherapy. When did the my doctor get the results of that biopsy back? Was last November or even earlier?"
7. To double check notes entered into your medical records by VA nurses, psychologists, physicians, and other clinicians to make sure everything is accurate. The sooner you catch an error, the easier it is to correct VA medical records.
Example: "I had an intake interview with a VA psychologist. He wrote down that I had been clean and sober for six weeks, but it's actually been six months. He did not write down that I attend AA and NA meetings 5 days a week; talk with my sponsor at least twice a week; and that I finished my 5th Step two weeks ago. I think that information is important!"
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) offers a "Help Desk" (toll-free phone number) if you have questions about My HealtheVet; a My HealtheVet Help page with links to articles; and a comprehensive FAQ page.
My HealtheVet Help Desk
1-877-327-0022 | 1-800-877-8339 (TTY)
Available weekdays from 0700 to 1900 Central Time, which is:
0600 to 1800 Eastern Time
0800 to 2000 Mountain Time
0900 to 2100 Pacific Time
1000 to 2200 Alaska Time
1100 to 2300 Hawaii Time
What if I Don't Have a Computer?
If you don't have a computer or don't like to use them... Go to your local library's Reference Desk, and ask for help from a reference librarian!
Most libraries have computers you can use and the librarian can help you if you have any trouble using the computer or finding what you need.
2. Veterans Health Admin., Dep't Veterans Aff., VHA Directive 1605.01, § 8. Right to Request Amendment of Records, p. 26 (2016).
3. Veterans Health Admin., Dep't Veterans Aff., VHA Handbook 1907.01 § 26 Health Record Alterations and Modification, pt. b, no. 4 Amendment, p. 32 (2015).
4. VHA Handbook 1907.01 § 26, pt. b, no. 4, subpt. a ("Amendment is the alteration of health information by modification, correction, addition or deletion at the request of the patient or Veteran. A request to amend any data contained in VA health records must be submitted in writing to the facility Privacy Officer, or designee, by the patient or Veteran stating explicitly what information is in contention and why, i.e., inaccurate or erroneous, irrelevant, untimely, or incomplete.")
5. If you do not have a middle name, use "NMN" for "No Middle Name", e.g., John NMN Smith.
6. In my experience, VA medical center websites do not provide much information, and the search engine on all va.gov sites is abysmal. Another option is to try calling the VA medical center main phone number to see if the operator can find the Privacy Officer's name and exact mailing address. (I realize that it's hard to get through on the phone at some VAMCs.)
After Congress passed a new law in December 2020, I thought that henceforth claims based on MST, whether based on a PTSD diagnosis or not, i.e., they could be based on another covered mental health co…
The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 seemed to indicated that Military Sexual Trauma (MST) that causes depressive, anxiety, & other menta…