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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 20299
Experience:  Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG
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I was wondering if it is possible for the Army to be able to

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I was wondering if it is possible for the Army to be able to view my civilian medical history, or my civilian prescription history?
Reason being, I have been in the military for going on 4 years now and generally I would go to a military doctor for everything, but over my leave while I was home I had a dental emergency and ended up having to go to a civilian dentist. YES I had permission to go to the civilian dentist, but they weren't allowed to provided services that the Army didn't approve of, which they didn't, they stuck to what they were told. I was prescribed by the civilian doctor to Vicodin for the pain. The trouble didn't start until recently due to failing a drug test (due to the prescription). I was stationed at Fort Bliss when the drug test was taken, and it came back as failed but was signed off on due to prescription. I PCS to Fort Bragg 3 weeks ago and went they processed my papers it showed as I still had a failed drug test and now they are trying to give me an article 15 and chapter me out. They were shown the papers stating that it was prescription, but are stating that those no longer are valid because my military medical record doesn't show that I was ever prescribed to medication. Although I was, only it was through a civilian doctor, and the appointment was authorized of. I no longer have the medication as proof considering it was almost a year ago, and thats why I am wondering is there any way possible that the military can view my prescription history from a civilian doctor, or my medical history every though I am active duty? Ive talked to JAG/ legal and they have all agreed if I get proof I have a good chance of this being thrown out. Just need to know if they can do that?

Thank you for the information and your question. Are you asking if the Army is allowed to look at your civilian medical records? Are you saying that you want them to so that they can confirm the prescription? If not, can you clarify what you are wanting to happen here as far as you medical records go?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes, I was wanting to know if they are allowed to go out and look at my civilian medical records on their own or is that something I have to sign off on in order for them to do so. Due to HIPAA I was figuring it was something that I would have to sign off on, but I have been told that when you join the military you sign over your rights to HIPAA and they can do it without consent.
Hello again and thank you for your reply. Although there is a military exception to the privacy rules under HIPAA that only applies to military sourced medical records. In other words, military medical records and prescriptions. So, in order for the Army to get access to your civilian medical records they would have to have either a release signed by you or a subpoena if you were to be court-martialed, which is not something I am saying would happen, just saying what two ways they can get your medical records.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the information! I choose not to go court martial due to the off chance something goes wrong the consequences aren't as bad. I choose to go article 15 with my chain of command and get the chance to plead my case, but they tell me if we get proof its to be thrown out. So all I have to do is sign a statement over to them stating that they have permission to collect the information that they need?
Thank you once again.
You're welcome. Yes, you could do that, or you can get the records yourself, or ask your civilian doctor to send them to your Command or Base Medical.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok, GREAT! One last question. My wife was saying that she think its possible to print it off online via where I got the prescription filled. So if I can do that and I give it to them as proof is this giving them the permission to call the place where the procedure was done to verify my proof, or is that still something I would have to still sign off on so that they could?
I can't say what your Command will accept as enough proof to show that you were prescribed the Vicodin for a condition that they knew about and approved. If you want them to have enough information to determine that you were being prescribed this medication for the reason they knew of, then they really need more than just the prescription. They will likely want proof of the treatment. But if you give them a prescription that has a doctor's name, they can try to contact the doctor and try to get them to discuss the reason for the prescription. That said, it is unlikely that the doctor will release that information without a release from you since they will be concerned about HIPAA. In other words, the doctor needs a release from you before they provide the information.
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