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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 32789
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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I requested a report of disclosure of my military medical

Customer Question

I requested a report of disclosure of my military medical record from my privacy officer. They denied my request stating , "If you are just wondering who looked at your records and would like a copy of that report, that's something we are not authorized by DHA to release. It's an internal document used for official purposes only." I also need to know if my Navy Commander can just access my medical records without my knowledge. I have not authorized release of my records to anyone. I did provide the Privacy Officer with a second request stating that I have a right to get a report on when, why and to whom my health information was shared. Please advise. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 month ago.

Hi, My name is***** am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 month ago.

I am sorry for this dilemma. But not sure I understand your specific question. Do you have a question regarding this? That is, "please advise" is not a would help if you could let me know what the specific question is...Are you asking if the commander needs your permission to review your military medical record?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I am active duty Navy and I would like to know if my Commanding Officer has a right to view my medical records and if so what legal requirements does the CO have to follow to do that without my consent? I requested a print out of disclosure of my medical records from the Military Treatment Facility. They said they can not provide an audit report of disclosure because they are not legally obligated to do so. This contradicts HIPPA which states they have to provide a printout. Are they allowed to do this?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 month ago.

Thank you
Actually the medical record belongs to the Department of Defense. The commander does NOT need your consent to review the records.

The HIPPA privacy requirements do NOT apply to a commanders ability to view the file...nor does the HIPPA require the military to tell you who is reviewing the file.

So yes...they (the commander) can review the record.
This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that the HIPAA applies to the military commander regarding military records but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you...I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 month ago.

Experts on this site (myself) are compensated ONLY if the customer (yourself) "rate" or "accept" the answer.

Please rate the answer so I may receive credit
Thanks for your understanding

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I am a bit confused. Here is what I have researched on the matter. Please confirm if this is still applicable law. When disclosing PHI in any form, the Military Health Service (MHS) must make “reasonable efforts” to limit the use or disclosure of PHI to “the minimum necessary” to accomplish its intended purpose (see DoD 6025.18-R, paragraph C8.2). Under HIPAA I also have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of my PHI for the previous six years (see DoD 6025.18-R, paragraph C13.1). Access to the member’s actual medical record is granted only if such access is specifically requested in writing by the member’s commander (or designee) to the MTF commander with an explanation as to why the actual medical record is needed. If given access to the actual record, the commander must conduct the records review with the assistance of a health care provider who can advise the commander on medical record data that might be misinterpreted. I mention this because a commander or first sergeant cannot just walk into an MTF and review the actual medical record of a subordinate. This would clearly violate the “minimum necessary” standard of DoD 6025.18-R. There are other exceptions to this accounting requirement. For example, I do not have the right to receive an accounting for disclosures of my PHI for national security or intelligence purposes (see DoD 6025.18-R, paragraphs C7.11.4 and C13.1.1.5). However, my immunizations record, dental exam, mental health record and PHA results do not fall under that exception because the information has virtually nothing to do with any legitimate intelligence or other national security activity. Please review the information and let me know your legal opinion.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Here is a link to the HIPPA regulations governing military health records. . It mentions when a CO can access your record and under what circumstances. It also says I have the right to receive a report of disclosure for up to 6 years. Please review and let me know your legal opinion on whether my local Command has the right to deny my request to receive a disclosure report of all those who accessed my medical information.