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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

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AGENCY:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

ACTION:

Notice of amendment to system of records.

SUMMARY:

As required by the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a(e), notice is hereby given that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending the system of records currently entitled “Employee Incentive Scholarship Program—VA” (110VA10) as set forth in the Federal Register 67 FR 66712. VA is amending the system records by revising the Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System Including Categories of Users and the Purpose of Such Uses. VA is republishing the system notice in its entirety.

DATES:

Comments on the amendment of this system of records must be received no later than February 24, 2010. If no public comment is received, the amended system will become effective February 24, 2010.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments may be submitted through www.Regulations.gov;​ by mail or hand-delivery to Director, Regulations Management (02Reg), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273-9026. 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) 461-4902 (this is not a toll-free number) for an appointment. In addition, during the comment period, comments may be viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at www.Regulations.gov.

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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:

Routine Use 6 was amended to allow disclosure to the 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.

Routine Use 11 was added to allow VA to disclose information from 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 Start Printed Page 3973that is compatible with the purpose for which VA collected the records.

Routine Use 12 was added to allow for disclosure of relevant information to be made to individuals, organizations, private or public agencies, or other entities 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.

Routine Use 13 was added to allow VA to disclose on its own initiative any information in the system, except the names and home addresses of Veterans and their dependents, that is relevant to a suspected or reasonably imminent violation of the 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.

Routine Use 14 was added for disclosure to other Federal agencies to be made to assist such agencies in preventing and detecting possible fraud or abuse by individuals in their operations and programs.

Routine Use 15 was added so that 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.

The Report of Intent to Amend a System on Records Notice and an advance copy of the system notice have been sent to the appropriate Congressional committees and to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (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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Dated: December 23, 2009.

John R. Gingrich,

Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs.

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110VA10

SYSTEM NAME:

Employee Incentive Scholarship Program—VA.

SYSTEM LOCATION:

Active records will be maintained at the Health Care Staff Development and Retention Office (HCSDRO/10A2D), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1971, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112; the Austin Automation Center (AAC), Department of Veterans Affairs, 1615 East Woodward Street, Austin, Texas 78772; and the VA health care facilities and VISN offices where scholarship recipients are employed. Address locations for VA health care facilities are listed in Appendix 1 of the Biennial Publication of Privacy Act Issuances. Complete records will be maintained only at the HCSDRO address.

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

VA employees who apply for and are denied or granted educational assistance awards under the provisions of VA. Employee Incentive Scholarship Program (EISP) in a field leading to appointment or retention in a position listed in 38 U.S.C., section 7401.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

Records (or information contained in records) in this system may include personal identification information related to the application material, to award processes, to employment, to obligated service, and to requests for waivers or suspensions of obligated service or financial indebtedness to VA such as (1) name, (2) employing facility number, (3) telephone number(s), (4) Social Security number, (5) award amount, (6) obligated service incurred, and (7) name and address of the educational institution; or any amount if indebtedness (accounts receivable) arising from the scholarship and owed to VA. The application for an EISP award includes the applicant's full name, employing facility number, home and work telephone numbers, Social Security number, job title, current education level, degree sought, description of the academic program covered by the scholarship, the starting and completion dates of the employee's academic program, the name and address of the academic institution, the number of credits in the student's academic program plan and the cost of the education covered by the academic program plan. Records may include memoranda submitted by the employees, calculations for the service obligations, copies of letters and memoranda from employees making the requests and in correspondence to employees and appropriate local program officials delineating the decisions on such requests.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

Title 38, U.S.C. Sections 501, 503, 7451, 7452, and 7431-7440.

PURPOSE(S):

The records and information may be used for determining and documenting individual applicant eligibility for scholarship awards, calculating the service commitments for scholarship recipients, ensuring program financial accountability, monitoring individual applicant educational progress, monitoring the employment status of scholarship recipients during their periods of obligated service, terminating the employee from the program, and evaluating and reporting program results and effectiveness. The information would be used to determine the financial liability of individuals who breach their EISP contracts.

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 Start Printed Page 3974routine 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.

1. Disclosure of any information in this system that is necessary to verify authenticity and completeness of the application may be made to educational institutions and other relevant organizations or individuals.

2. Disclosure of any information in this system may be made to a Federal agency in order to determine if an applicant has an obligation for service under another Federal program, thus rendering the applicant ineligible for a VA Employee Incentive Scholarship Program Award.

3. Disclosure of an information in this system may be made to the local supervisory officials and program coordinators to ensure that individual data in the system of records is up to date and that award recipients are in compliance with the terms of the scholarship program contract.

4. Any information in this system may be used to evaluate and report program results and effectiveness to appropriate officials including members of Congress on a routine and ad hoc basis.

5. Disclosure of information in this system may be made to a member of Congress or staff person acting for the member when the member or staff person requests the records on behalf of and at the request of that individual.

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

7. Disclosure of information to the FLRA (including its General Counsel) when requested in connection with the investigation and resolution of allegations of unfair labor practices, in connection with matters before the Federal Service Impasses Panel, and to investigate representation petitions and conduct or supervise representation elections.

8. Disclosure may be made 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.

9. Disclosure may be made to officials of the Merit Systems Protection Board, including 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.

10. Disclosure may be made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when requested in connection with investigations of alleged or possible discrimination practices, examination of Federal affirmative employment programs, compliance with the Uniform Guidelines of Employee Selection Procedures, or other functions vested in the Commission by the President's Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978.

11. VA may disclose information from 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.

12. Disclosure of relevant information may be made to individuals, organizations, private or public agencies, or other entities 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.

13. VA may disclose on its own initiative any information in the system, except the names and home addresses of veterans and their dependents, that is relevant to a suspected or reasonably imminent violation of the 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(2), VA may disclose records from this system to consumer reporting agencies as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f) or the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 (31 U.S.C. 3701(a)(3)).

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

STORAGE:

Records are maintained on paper, electronic media and computer printouts.

RETRIEVABILITY:

Records are retrieved by use of the award number or an equivalent participant account number assigned by Start Printed Page 3975HCSDRO, social security number and the name of the individual.

SAFEGUARDS:

Access to the basic file in HCSDRO is restricted to authorized VA employees and vendors. Access to the office spaces where electronic media is maintained within HCSDRO is further restricted to specifically authorized employees and is protected by contracted building security services. Records (typically computer printouts) at HCSDRO will be kept in locked files and made available only to authorized personnel on a need-to-know basis. During non-working hours the file is locked and the building is protected by contracted building security services. Records stored on electronic media are maintained on a VA-approved and managed, password-protected, secure local area network (LAN) located within HCSDRO office spaces and safeguarded as described above. Records stored on electronic media at Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Offices, VA health care facilities, and the Austin Automated Center in Austin, Texas are provided equivalent safeguards subject to local policies mandating protection of information subject to Federal safeguards.

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

Records will be maintained and disposed of in accordance with records disposition authority approved by the Archivist of the United States.

SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

Director, Health Care Staff Development and Retention Office (10A2D), Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1971, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

Any individual who wishes to determine whether a record is being maintained in this system under his or her name or other personal identifier, or wants to determine the contents of such records, should submit a written request or apply in person to the Director, Health Care Staff Development and Retention Office, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1971, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:

Individuals seeking information regarding access to and contesting of VA records in this system may write, call or visit the Director, Health Care Staff Development and Retention Office (10A2D), Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1971, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112. The telephone number is (504) 589-5267.

CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

(See Record Access Procedures above.)

RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

Information contained in the records is obtained from the individual, references given in application material, educational institutions, VA medical facilities, the VA AAC, other Federal agencies, state agencies and consumer reporting agencies.

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[FR Doc. 2010-1294 Filed 1-22-10; 8:45 am]

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