Health Care:

Medical Records Control

HEHS-94-161R: Published: May 4, 1994. Publicly Released: May 4, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) Department of Defense's (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) procedures for retaining service medical records after a service member is discharged; and (2) reasons that some records may be hard to find. GAO noted that: (1) the services have implemented new procedures to transfer records directly to VA when a service member is discharged; (2) the possibility of medical records being misplaced remains because there are still many storage locations within the new system; (3) there are about 1,100 Persian Gulf claims pending, of which 37 percent are over 1 year old, 33 percent are 6 months to 1 year old, and 30 percent are less than 6 months old; and (4) VA has been unable to obtain service medical records for 20 veterans who have filed compensation claims with the Louisville VA Regional Office.

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