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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

ACTION:

Notice of establishment of new system of records.

SUMMARY:

The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552(e) (4)) requires that all agencies publish in the Federal Register a notice of the existence and character of their systems of records. Notice is hereby given that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is establishing a new system of records entitled “Customer Relationship Management System (CRMS)-VA” 155VA16.

DATES:

Comments on this new system of records must be received no later than December 26, 2008. If no public comment is received, the new system will become effective December 26, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments concerning the proposed amended system of records may be submitted by: mail or hand-delivery to Director, Regulations Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; fax to (202) 273-9026; or e-mail to VAregulations@mail.va.gov. All comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1063B, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please call (202) 273-9515 for an appointment.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Privacy Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420; telephone (704) 245-2492.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Description of Proposed Systems of Records

Electronic Service Records are maintained in a database at the Health Revenue Center (HRC), in Topeka, Kansas or at another Office of Information Technology (OI&T) approved location. These Service Records document telephone inquiries received from veterans, veteran's family members, members of the general public, VA customers, and VA employees.

The Service Records may contain such information as identifying information including name, address, Start Printed Page 72124social security number, date of birth, telephone number, VA claims file number, etc.; family information including spouse and dependent(s) name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), etc.; veteran's financial information concerning co-payment billing of medical care and prescriptions; veteran's health insurance carrier name and address; veteran's health care provider, services provided, amounts claimed and paid; facility location(s) where treatment is provided; information about military service; e.g., branch, combat service, military decorations, POW status, etc; information about veteran's eligibility and enrollment status for VA health care benefits; compensation, pension or education benefits; general public/job applicants' information, e.g., name, address, and telephone number, etc.; and VA employee and benefits information, e.g., name, address, social security number, date of birth, telephone number, and health insurance, life insurance coverage, retirement plan, etc. Overall, Service Records may be used to document all types of information resulting from communication with veterans, veteran's family members, members of the general public, VA customers, and VA employees during the course of conducting VA business.

The Service Records are maintained for historical reference, quality assurance and training, and statistical reporting purposes.

Magnetic media are also stored in a VA Office of Information and Technology (OI&T) approved location for contingency back-up purposes.

II. Proposed Routine Use Disclosures of Data in the System

We are proposing to establish the following Routine Use disclosures of information maintained in the system for the potential purpose of releasing information on a call handled such as, the caller's name, date and time of call, purpose of call, and information obtained and/or response provided.

1. The record of an individual who is covered by this system of records may be disclosed to a Member of Congress, or a staff person acting for the Member, when the Member or staff person requests the record on behalf of and at the written request of the individual.

VA must be able to provide information about individuals to adequately respond to inquiries from Members of Congress at the request of constituents who have sought their assistance.

2. Disclosure may be made to National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) in records management inspections conducted under authority of Title 44, Chapter 29, of the United States Code (U.S.C.). NARA and GSA are responsible for management of old records no longer actively used, but which may be appropriate for preservation, and for the physical maintenance of the Federal government's records. VA must be able to provide the records to NARA and GSA in order to determine the proper disposition of such records.

3. VA may disclose information in this system of records to the Department of Justice (DOJ), either on VA's initiative or in response to DOJ's request for the information, after either VA or DOJ determines that such information is relevant to DOJ's representation of the United States or any of its components in legal proceedings before a court or adjudicative body, provided that, in each case, the agency also determines prior to disclosure that release of the records to the DOJ is a use of the information contained in the records that is compatible with the purpose for which VA collected the records. VA, on its own initiative, may disclose records in this system of records in legal proceedings before a court or administrative body after determining that the disclosure of the records to the court or administrative body is a use of the information contained in the records that is compatible with the purpose for which VA collected the records.

VA must be able to provide information to DOJ in litigation where the United States or any of its components is involved or has an interest. A determination would be made in each instance that under the circumstances involved, the purpose is compatible with the purpose for which VA collected the information. This routine use is distinct from the authority to disclose records in response to a court order under subsection (b)(11) of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(11), or any other provision of subsection (b), in accordance with the court's analysis in Doe v. DiGenova, 779 F.2d 74, 78-84 (DC Cir. 1985) and Doe v. Stephens, 851 F.2d 1457, 1465-67 (DC Cir. 1988).

4. Disclosure of relevant information may be made to individuals, organizations, private or public agencies, or other entities or individuals with whom VA has a contract or agreement or where there is a subcontract to perform such services as VA may deem practicable for the purposes of laws administered by VA, in order for the contractor or subcontractor to perform the services of the contract or agreement. This routine use, which also applies to agreements that do not qualify as contracts defined by Federal procurement laws and regulations, is consistent with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance in OMB Circular A-130, App. I, paragraph 5a(1)(b) that agencies promulgate routine uses to address disclosure of Privacy Act-protected information to contractors in order to perform the services contracts for the agency.

5. VA may disclose, on its own initiative, any information in this system, except the names and home addresses of veterans and their dependents, that is relevant to a suspected or reasonably imminent violation of law, whether civil, criminal, or regulatory in nature and whether arising by general or program statute or by regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto, to a Federal, State, local, tribal, or foreign agency charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation, or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, rule or order. VA may also disclose, on its own initiative, the names and addresses of veterans and their dependents to a Federal agency charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting civil, criminal or regulatory violations of law, or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.

VA must be able to provide on its own initiative information that pertains to a violation of laws to law enforcement authorities in order for them to investigate and enforce those laws. Under 38 U.S.C. 5701(a) and (f), VA may only disclose the names and addresses of veterans and their dependents to Federal entities with law enforcement responsibilities. This is distinct from the authority to disclose records in response to a qualifying request from a law enforcement entity, as authorized by Privacy Act subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(7).

6. Disclosure to other Federal agencies may be made to assist such agencies in preventing and detecting possible fraud or abuse by individuals in their operations and programs. This routine use permits disclosures by the Department to report a suspected incident of identity theft and provide information and/or documentation related to or in support of the reported incident.

7. VA may, on its own initiative, disclose any information or records to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) VA suspects or has confirmed that the integrity or confidentiality of information in the Start Printed Page 72125system of records has been compromised; (2) the Department has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise, there is a risk of embarrassment or harm to the reputations of the record subjects, harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security, confidentiality, or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the potentially compromised information; and (3) the disclosure is to agencies, entities, or persons whom VA determines are reasonably necessary to assist or carry out the Department's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm. This routine use permits disclosures by the Department to respond to a suspected or confirmed data breach, including the conduct of any risk analysis or provision of credit protection services as provided in 38 U.S.C. 5724, as the terms are defined in 38 U.S.C. 5727.

8. Disclosure may be made to those officers and employees of the agency that maintains the record and who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties. This routine use permits disclosures by the Department to respond to Freedom of Information (FOIA)/Privacy Act requests and inquiries from officers and employees of Veteran Affairs organizations to aid in the services provided to veterans, veteran's family members, members of the general public, VA customers, and VA employees and to conduct general maintenance, trouble shooting and/or system upgrades.

9. To disclose the information listed in 5 U.S.C. 7114(b)(4) to officials of labor organizations recognized under 5 U.S.C. Chapter 71 when relevant and necessary to their duties of exclusive representation concerning personnel policies, practices, and matters affecting working conditions.

This routine use permits disclosures by the Department to respond to requests made by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 906 officials for information and/or documents associated with their duties of exclusive representation of covered Health Revenue Center (HRC) employees.

10. To disclose information to officials of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), or the Office of the Special Counsel, when requested in connection with appeals, special studies of the civil service and other merit systems, review of rules and regulations, investigation of alleged or possible prohibited personnel practices, and such other functions, promulgated in 5 U.S.C. 1205 and 1206, or as may be authorized by law. VA must be able to provide information to MSPB to assist it in fulfilling its duties as required by statute and regulation.

11. To disclose information from this system to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when requested in connection with investigations of alleged or possible discriminatory practices, examination of Federal affirmative employment programs, or other functions of the Commission as authorized by statute and regulation. VA must be able to provide information to EEOC to assist it in fulfilling its duties to protect employees' rights, as required by statute regulation.

12. To disclose to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), including its General Counsel, information related to the establishment of jurisdiction, the investigation and resolution of allegations of unfair labor practices, or information in connection with the resolution of exceptions to arbitration awards when a question of material fact is raised; to disclose information in matters properly before the Federal Services Impasses Panel, and to investigate representation petitions and conduct or supervise representation elections. VA must be able to provide information to FLRA to comply with the statutory mandate under which it operates.

III. Compatibility of the Proposed Routine Uses

The Privacy Act permits VA to disclose information about individuals without their consent for a routine use when the information will be used for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose for which we collected the information. In all of the routine use disclosures described above, the recipient of the information will use the information in connection with a matter relating to one of VA's programs, will use the information to provide a benefit to VA, or disclosure is required by law.

The notice of intent to publish and an advance copy of the system notice have been sent to the appropriate Congressional committees and to the Director of OMB as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) (Privacy Act) and guidelines issued by OMB (65 FR 77677), December 12, 2000.

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Approved: November 7, 2008.

Gordon H. Mansfield,

Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

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155VA16

SYSTEM NAME:

Customer Relationship Management System (CRMS)-VA.

SYSTEM LOCATION:

Records and magnetic media are maintained at the Health Revenue Center (HRC), Topeka, Kansas facility or at another OI&T approved location. Magnetic media are also stored at an OI&T approved location for contingency back-up purposes.

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

The records include information concerning telephone inquiries from veterans, veteran's family members, members of the general public, VA customers, and VA employees.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

The records may include information related to:

1. Veteran health benefits eligibility;

2. Veteran medical claims processing and payments;

3. Co-payments charged for medical care and prescriptions;

4. General human resources management; e.g., employee benefits, recruitment/job applicants, etc.; and

5. Other information related to veterans, veteran's family members, members of the general public, VA customers, and VA employees.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

Title 38, United States Code, sections 501(a), 1705, 1710, 1722, 1722(a), 1781 and Title 5, United States Code, section 552(a).

PURPOSE(S):

The records and information may be used for historical reference, quality assurance, training, and statistical reporting.

ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

To the extent that records contained in the system include information protected by 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, i.e., individually identifiable health information, and 38 U.S.C. 7332, i.e., medical treatment information related to drug abuse, alcoholism or alcohol abuse, sickle cell anemia or infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, that information cannot be disclosed under a routine use unless there is also specific statutory authority in 38 U.S.C. 7332 and regulatory authority in 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164 permitting disclosure.Start Printed Page 72126

VA may disclose protected information pursuant to the following routine uses where required by law, or required or permitted by 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164.

1. The record of an individual who is covered by this system of records may be disclosed to a Member of Congress, or a staff person acting for the Member, when the Member or staff person requests the record on behalf of and at the written request of the individual.

2. Disclosure may be made to National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) in records management inspections conducted under authority of Title, Chapter 29, of the United States Code (44 U.S.C.).

3. VA may disclose information in this system of records to the Department of Justice (DOJ), either on VA's initiative or in response to DOJ's request for the information, after either VA or DOJ determines that such information is relevant to DOJ's representation of the United States or any of its components in legal proceedings before a court or adjudicative body, provided that, in each case, the agency also determines prior to disclosure that release of the records to DOJ is a use of the information contained in the records that is compatible with the purpose for which VA collected the records. VA, on its own initiative, may disclose records in this system of records in legal proceedings before a court or administrative body after determining that the disclosure of the records to the court or administrative body is a use of the information contained in the records that is compatible with the purpose for which VA collected the records.

4. Disclosure of relevant information may be made to individuals, organizations, private or public agencies, or other entities or individuals with whom VA has a contract or agreement or where there is a subcontract to perform such services as VA may deem practicable for the purposes of laws administered by VA, in order for the contractor or subcontractor to perform the services of the contract or agreement.

5. VA may disclose, on its own initiative, any information in this system, except the names and home addresses of veterans and their dependents, that is relevant to a suspected or reasonably imminent violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature and whether arising by general or program statute or by regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto, to a Federal, State, local, tribal, or foreign agency charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation, or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, rule or order. VA may also disclose, on its own initiative, the names and addresses of veterans and their dependents to a Federal agency charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting civil, criminal or regulatory violations of law, or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.

6. Disclosure to other Federal agencies may be made to assist such agencies in preventing and detecting possible fraud or abuse by individuals in their operations and programs.

7. VA may, on its own initiative, disclose any information or records to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) VA suspects or has confirmed that the integrity or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Department has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise, there is a risk of embarrassment or harm to the reputations of the record subjects, harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security, confidentiality, or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the potentially compromised information; and (3) the disclosure is to agencies, entities, or persons whom VA determines are reasonably necessary to assist or carry out the Department's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm. This routine use permits disclosures by the Department to respond to a suspected or confirmed data breach, including the conduct of any risk analysis or provision of credit protection services as provided in 38 U.S.C. 5724, as the terms are defined in 38 U.S.C. 5727.

8. Disclosure may be made to those officers and employees of the agency that maintains the record and who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties.

9. To disclose the information listed in 5 U.S.C. 7114(b)(4) to officials of labor organizations recognized under 5 U.S.C. Chapter 71 when relevant and necessary to their duties of exclusive representation concerning personnel policies, practices, and matters affecting working conditions.

10. To disclose information to officials of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), or the Office of the Special Counsel, when requested in connection with appeals, special studies of the civil service and other merit systems, review of rules and regulations, investigation of alleged or possible prohibited personnel practices, and such other functions, promulgated in 5 U.S.C. 1205 and 1206, or as may be authorized by law.

11. To disclose information from this system to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when requested in connection with investigations of alleged or possible discriminatory practices, examination of Federal affirmative employment programs, or other functions of the Commission as authorized by law or regulation.

12. To disclose to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), including its General Counsel, information related to the establishment of jurisdiction, the investigation and resolution of allegations of unfair labor practices, or information in connection with the resolution of exceptions to arbitration awards when a question of material fact is raised; to disclose information in matters properly before the Federal Services Impasses Panel, and to investigate representation petitions and conduct or supervise representation elections.

POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

STORAGE:

Records are stored on electronic media in a VA OI&T approved location.

RETRIEVABILITY:

Records are retrieved by name, social security number, or other assigned identifiers of the individuals on whom they are maintained.

SAFEGUARDS:

1. All entrance doors to the HRC require an electronic pass card to gain entry. Hours of entry to the facility are controlled based on position held and special needs. Visitors to the HRC are required to sign in at a specified location and are either escorted the entire time they are in the building or they are issued a temporary visitors badge. At the end of the visit, visitors are required to turn in their badge. The building is equipped with an intrusion alarm system which is activated when any of the doors are forced open or held ajar for a specified length of time. During business hours, the security system is monitored by the VA police and HRC staff. After business hours, the security system is monitored by the VA telephone operator(s) and VA police. The VA police conduct visual security Start Printed Page 72127checks of the outside perimeter of the building.

2. Access to the building is generally restricted to HRC staff and VA police, specified custodial personnel, engineering personnel, and canteen service personnel.

3. Access to computer rooms is restricted to authorized VA OI-T personnel and requires entry of a personal identification number (PIN) with the pass card swipe. PINs must be changed periodically. All other persons gaining access to computer rooms are escorted. Information stored in the computer may be accessed by authorized VA employees at remote locations including the Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta, GA; Health Administration Center in Denver, CO; Consolidated Patient Accounting Center in Ashville, NC; and VA health care facilities.

4. All new HRC employees receive initial information security and privacy policy training and sign a Statement of Commitment and Understanding; refresher training is provided to all employees on an annual basis. The HRC Information Security Officer performs an annual information security audit and periodic reviews to ensure security of the system.

5. For contingency purposes, database backups on magnetic media are stored off-site at an approved VA OI&T location.

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

Electronic Service Records are purged when they are no longer needed for current operation. Records are maintained and disposed of in accordance with records disposition authority approved by the Archivist of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration, and published in the VHA Records Control Schedule 10-1.

SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

Official responsible for policies and procedures: Chief Business Officer (16), VA Central Office, 1722 I Street, NW., Washington, DC 20420. Official maintaining the system: Director, Health Revenue Center, 3401, SW., 21st Street, Bldg. 9, Topeka, Kansas 66604.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

Individuals who wish to determine whether this system of records contains information about them should contact the VA facility location at which they are or were employed or made or have contact. Inquiries should include the person's full name, social security number, dates of employment, date(s) of contact, and return address.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:

Individuals seeking information regarding access to and contesting of records in this system may write, call, or visit the VA facility location where they are or were employed or made contact.

CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

(See Record Access Procedures above.)

RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

Information in this system of records is provided by veterans, veteran's family members, members of the general public, VA customers, and VA employees.

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[FR Doc. E8-28199 Filed 11-25-08; 8:45 am]

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