Navy To VA: We Printed Out Health Records And Mailed Them

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | December 19, 2013

Decades after the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department developed separate electronic health records for military personnel and veterans, here’s how the Navy transfers potentially millions of pages of sailors’ and Marines’ medical files to VA: It prints them out on paper and mails them via the U.S. Postal Service, Nextgov has learned.

At the same time, VA has launched a massive bulk scanning operation to copy 70 million pages a month of the department’s own paper files, including service treatment records, into electronic format as PDF files.

VA and the Defense Department reached an agreement in February for Defense to bulk scan all such treatment records as of Dec. 31 for electronic transfer to the VA, but that process still includes printing and mailing paper records.

Karen Roberts, a Defense spokeswoman, said Defense sends millions of fields of data to the VA daily for both healthcare and benefit adjudication purposes. She did not answer a question from Nextgov about whether the Army and Air Force also print out and mail copies of electronic health records to the VA.