How Can Veterans Obtain Their VA Medical Records?
Gaining access to your VA medical records is vital to managing your healthcare. Whether you require treatment for a service-related injury or managing a long-term medical condition, having your medical records available guarantees you the highest quality care.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is tasked with a "duty to assist" veterans, meaning they are responsible for aiding veterans in obtaining their medical records to support their VA disability claim.
However, it remains the veteran's responsibility to provide all relevant health information to the VA to bolster their claim.
Why Are Medical Records Important For Veterans?
Relevant medical records play a crucial role in illustrating the symptoms and severity of your claimed condition for your VA claim. It is essential to consistently communicate any worsening symptoms to your healthcare provider, allowing your doctor to document these changes. This documentation can be particularly valuable when seeking an increased VA disability rating.
Medical records serve as the foundation of your health history, detailing the disabilities you have been diagnosed with and presenting clinical findings, lab results, and significant medical opinions from the healthcare professionals most knowledgeable about your condition.
Three Ways To Get Your VA Medical Records
You have various options for acquiring your VA medical records, such as online, through mail, or by visiting a VA medical facility. Furthermore, you have the option to access your VA disability benefit decision online. Now, let's dive into each of these methods:
Submit An Online Request For Your Medical Records
The most expeditious and user-friendly approach to acquiring your VA medical records is via the VA's online portal, My HealtheVet. To employ this method, you will be required to establish an account on the My HealtheVet website and fulfill the authentication process.
Once the authentication is successfully completed, you can initiate a request for your VA medical records by clicking on the "Download My Data" button.
You will be required to choose the desired date range for the medical records you wish to download. Subsequently, you can retrieve your records in a PDF format.
Submit Paper Requests
If you request your VA medical records via mail, you can obtain VA Form 10-5345a, titled "Request for and Authorization to Release VA Medical Records or Health Information." After filling out this form, you can send it by mail to the VA medical facility where you received treatment.
Expect a response within ten business days after the VA receives your request. If they are unable to fulfill your request within 30 days, you'll receive a letter explaining the delay and the reason behind it.
Submit In-Person Requests
You can also make an in-person request for your VA medical records at a VA medical facility. To do this, simply visit the Release of Information office at the VA facility where you received treatment. To make an in-person request for your VA medical records at a VA medical facility, bring a valid identification form, such as a driver's license or passport, along with a completed VA Form 10-5345a.
Submit the form to the Release of Information office, and you can expect a response within ten business days of your request. Whichever method you opt for to request your VA medical records, it's crucial to supply comprehensive information.
Include your full name, social security number, and date of birth, and specify the date range for the records you seek. It ensures a prompt and accurate response to your request.
Should you have any queries or apprehensions regarding the process, feel free to contact the Release of Information office at your VA medical facility for guidance and support.