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Freedom Of Information Act


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#1 augoldminer

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:29 AM

Does the VA have a form for freedom of information act request or do you just wing it. I know that some of the gov agencies (US Forest Service and BLM) that I have dealt with over the years have forms and some dont. And if they have a form and you do not use it it takes a lot longer to get the info you want.

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#2 Berta

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 06:15 AM

We have a template here under the search feature for FOIA requests-

I dont recommend this if you are requesting copy of your C file-

You can just state "Under the Privacy Act, 5, USC 552, I request one complete copy of my VA C file." Give them your C file number,copy and sign, and send this to the RO that handles your claim.
Med recs -use same type of statement for the VA med recs-send to Records Access Officer c/o the VAMC which treats you.

FOIA can be used for requests from DOD, DOL, state departments etc-
and as you said many have their own blank FOIA forms that can be obtained upon request or even at their web sites.
Our local village-population 700 has its own FOIA format -most gov agenecies do but I have sent my own FOIAs version to the VA,oGC and even the BVA in DC and had no problems.

I am waiting for a response on one FOIA I sent to the Chairman of the BVA-
to see if I can get what info he used for his report to Nicholson this past January.


A FOIA to VA just for med recs or copy of the c file goes to their FOIA person and takes longer to processs than a Privacy Act request-
you dont even have to cite the Privacy Act-as long as these are your records.

Edited by Berta, 06 June 2007 - 06:18 AM.


#3 augoldminer

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 12:55 AM

I am a old hand at dealing with gov employees and I know that any thing that they tell you has no legal standing. But a FOIA request has to be the truth or they will have to ansure to someone higher up like a congressman or a senator and they don't want that.

I have a very very rare autoimmune disorder that the main medical center that treats the disorder says there are only about 500 cases in the US. But i have found 20 vets with this disorder and that's just doing Internet research and from talking to a DAV worker at there main office in LA Calif. How many more vets have been DXed with this disorder. I also have found about 15 research papers on this disorder that have been done by VA doctors. Strange that VA doctors would be doing so much research on a very very rare disorder unless the VA was seeing a number of cases. It would be hard to do research without a number of people with the disorder.

If they deny my service connection for this disorder I plan to find out how many vets the VA is treating or knows about.
if it above normal there is something going on as the VA will not know of all cases due to a percentage of vets that have good insurance and/or have never connected the VA.

If I find high numbers. The VA has been keeping quiet about or has not keep track of the number of vets I will be sure to let my senators know something is going on.
At the same time i file a appeal citing the high numbers.

#4 Berta

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 05:41 AM

Have you put this condition into the search feature at the BVA web site?

another way to possibly see that other veterans have this too.

#5 Toposurveyor

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:34 PM

augoldminer,

There is an office in our VAMC at Walla Walla, Wa.that handles release of information. I make it a point to visit this office before or after each of my appointments, ask for a copy of my progress notes and any lab information for that days appointment. They print out the authorization form, I sign it, and the info is mailed to me within the 10 day requirement. The one exception to this resulted in a telephone call from the ROI office advising me that it would be more than the 10 days for the info to be confirmed and was this acceptable to me. I agreed and had the info in about the 3rd week after my appointment. I have had no problems getting info regarding my appointments.

Ed

#6 Alex

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 01:45 PM

Berta --

What a lot of vets fail to do is to follow up on FOIA requests is to appeal the RO's failure to respond to the General Counsel. Then you will have someone in authorty to bug them.

As for medical records, just gp the Release of Information office to get your own or any vet to get his. They copy them with no questions asked.

Alex


#7 Ricky

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 12:01 AM

I sent a request (fax) to my RO for some updated Cfile stuff. They told me it would take 4-6 weeks. In the cover letter, as always, I thanked them for there service to the veteran community. They called me about 10 mins after receiving the fax and told me they appreciated the thanks for the service and if I wanted they could fax the requested records that day. I told them that would be great. The fax was received about 2 hours later.




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