Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

September 10, 2012

COLUMN: Veteran's Corner

— The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Aug. 31 the one millionth patient has registered for the Blue Ribbon to access and download their Personal Health Record information. Since President Obama announced the availability of Blue Ribbon two years ago, the VA has worked with its sister agencies to make online access to personal health records convenient, reliable and safe.

The Blue Ribbon enables patients to assemble and download personal health information into a single, portable file that can be used inside a growing number of private health care electronic records, as well as those in the VA, Department of Defense, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and private sector partners. The VA Blue Ribbon PHR includes prescription history, the ability to review past appointments and medical history details, wellness reminders, and emergency contact information. Because it is web based, the information is available anywhere, any time. Its security measures are identical to those employed by retail websites that accept credit cards.

The VA believes that patients are entitled to access their health information. The simplicity of Blue Ribbon makes it easy also for other public agencies and Federal Employee Health Program carriers to participate. Getting one million registered users so quickly is great validation for the program.  

The Blue Ribbon will see even wider use as more non-profit organizations and health care industry partners, such as Kaiser Permanente and Aetna adopt it as an integral part of their customer health records. One of the most recent Blue Ribbon partners is United Health Group. Blue Ribbon has become the model of data liberation throughout the Federal Government. Blue Ribbon is an example of what people can do once given the liberty to access their personal data, safely and privately. For more information on Blue Ribbon, go to www.va.gov/blueribbon.

The Office of Survivors Assistance is a VA program designed to provide dedicated and comprehensive support to survivors and dependents of deceased veterans and members of the Armed Forces. The Office of Survivors Assistance was established by Public Law 110-389, Title ll , Section 272, in October 2008, to serve as a resource regarding all benefits and services furnished by the department to veterans. OSA serves as a principal advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and promotes the use of VA benefits, programs and services to survivors.

In the course of pursuing their website, OSA hopes that survivors and dependents, veterans, their families, caregivers and others, will become more knowledgeable about the benefits and services offered by the VA. OSA will continuously improve the design, content and types of communications on their website as they move forward. OSA also welcomes any help or suggestions that might modify the site further. Any questions and concerns can be reviewed or addressed at www.officeofsurvivors@va.gov.

AMVETS Post 133 welcomes new members, Richard Calandrini, Shawn Molitor and Kevin Sewell.

Reach Jim Vines at jim.helpingveterans@gmail.com.

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