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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

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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 “Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Outcomes—Repository (SCIDO-R)-VA” (108VA11S) as set forth in the Federal Register 74 FR 11185-11186 dated March 16, 2009. VA is amending the System Name, System Location, Categories of Records in the System, Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, Storage, and System Manager and Address. 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 May 16, 2012. If no public comment is received, the amended system will become effective May 16, 2012.

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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Outcomes—Repository (SCIDO-R) provides a registry of veterans with spinal cord injury and disorders (SCI&D). This repository contains pertinent information on veterans with SCI&D and enables better coordination of care among VHA staff. The purpose of the repository is to assist clinicians, administrators, and researchers in identifying and tracking services for veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders resulting from trauma or diseases. The SCIDO-R can also facilitate clinical, administrative, and research reports for medical center use. Regional SCIDO repositories provide aggregate data to the National SCIDO-R database at the Austin Information Technology Center (AITC). This centralized AITC repository is used to provide a VA-wide review of veteran demographics and clinical aspects of injury and disorders for administrative and research purposes. VHA's Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Services developed the SCIDO-R and these records are maintained exclusively by VA.

VA is renaming the system of records from Spinal Cord Dysfunction Registry—VA to Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Outcomes—Repository (SCIDO-R)-VA.

The Location has been amended to include that each Spinal Cord Injury Center has a SCIDO application deployment.

The Category of Records in the System is amended to reflect that the SCIDO-R will also store outcome measures of impairment, and a registrant may have multiple outcome entries.

The following routine use disclosure statements are added:

Routine use fourteen (14) states that VA may disclose identifying information, including social security number, concerning veterans, spouses of veterans, and the beneficiaries of veterans to other federal agencies for the purpose of conducting computer matches to obtain information to determine or verify eligibility of veterans receiving VA medical care under Title 38, U.S.C.

Routine use fifteen (15) states that VA may disclose patient identifying information to federal agencies and VA and government-wide third-party insurers responsible for payment of the cost of medical care for the identified patients, in order for VA to seek recovery of the medical care costs. These records may also be disclosed as part of a computer matching program to accomplish this purpose.

The Report of Intent to Amend a System of 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.

Approved: March 20, 2012.

John R. Gingrich,

Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs.

SOR #: 108VA11S

SYSTEM NAME:

“Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Outcomes—Repository (SCIDO-R)-VA”.

SYSTEM LOCATION:

All electronic and paper records are maintained at the Austin Information Technology Center (AITC), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 1615 Woodward Street, Austin, Texas 78772, and at VA health care facilities listed in VA Appendix 1 of the biennial publication of VA's Systems of Records. Each Spinal Cord Injury Center has a SCIDO application deployment. Data transmissions between the SCIDO application and the VA databases housed at the AITC are accomplished using the Department's wide area network.

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

Veterans identified with spinal cord injury and disorders that have applied for VA health care services are included in the system. Occasionally, non-veterans who have received VA health care or rehabilitation services under sharing agreements, contracted care, or humanitarian emergencies will also have information recorded in the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Outcomes (SCIDO) Repository.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

These records contain identifying information including name, social security number, date of birth, and registration date in the SCIDO-R. SCIDO -Repository registration information may include information about whether individuals are receiving services from VA's spinal cord system of care, neurologic level of injury, etiology, date of onset, type of cause, completeness of injury, and annual evaluation dates offered and received. The SCIDO-R also stores outcome measures of impairment, activity, social role participation, and satisfaction with life. A registrant may have multiple outcome entries.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

Title 38, United States Code, Sections 501 and 7304.

PURPOSE(S):

The SCIO-Repository provides a registry of Veterans with spinal cord injury and disorders (SCI&D). This registry contains pertinent information on Veterans with SCI&D and enables better coordination of care among VHA staff. The purpose of the repository is to assist clinicians, administrators, and researchers in identifying and tracking services for Veterans with spinal cord dysfunction resulting from trauma or diseases. The SCIDO-R can also facilitate clinical, administrative, and research reports for medical center use. Regional SCIDO Repositories provide data extracts to the National SCIDO-Repository database at the AITC. This centralized AITC repository is used to provide a VA-wide review of Veteran demographics and clinical aspects of injuries and disorders.

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.

1. The record of an individual who is covered by a 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 of records covered by this system, as deemed necessary and proper to named individuals serving as accredited Veterans service organization representatives, and other individuals named as approved agents or attorneys for a documented purpose and period of time. These agents/attorneys must be aiding beneficiaries in the preparation/presentation of their cases during verification and/or due process procedures or in the presentation/prosecution of claims under laws administered by VA.

3. A record containing the name(s) and address(es) of present or former members of the armed services and/or their dependents may be released from this system of records under certain circumstances:

a. To any nonprofit organization if the release is directly connected with the conduct of programs and the utilization of benefits under Title 38, and

b. To any criminal or civil law enforcement governmental agency or instrumentality charged under applicable law with the protection of the public health or safety if a qualified representative of such organization, agency or instrumentality has made a written request that such name(s) or address(es) be provided for a purpose authorized by law; provided, further, that the record(s) will not be used for any purpose other than that stated in the request and that the organization, agency or instrumentality is aware of the penalty provision of 38 U.S.C. 5701(f).

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

5. Disclosure of information, excluding name and address (unless name and address is furnished by the requester) for research purposes determined to be necessary and proper, to epidemiological and other research facilities approved by the Under Secretary for Health.

6. In order to conduct Federal research necessary to accomplish a statutory purpose of an agency, at the written request of the head of the agency, or designee of the head of that agency, the name(s) and address(es) of present or former personnel or the armed services and/or their dependents may be disclosed;

a. To a Federal department or agency; or

b. Directly to a contractor of a Federal department or agency. When a disclosure of this information is to be made directly to the contractor, VA may impose applicable conditions on the department, agency, and/or contractor to ensure the appropriateness of the disclosure to the contractor.

7. 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.

8. For program review purposes and the seeking of accreditation and/or certification, disclosure may be made to survey teams of the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission, The Joint Commission (JC), College of American Pathologists, American Association of Blood Banks, and similar national accreditation agencies or boards with whom VA has a contract or agreement to conduct such reviews, but only to the extent that the information is necessary and relevant to the review.

9. Records from this system of records may be disclosed in a proceeding before a court, adjudicative body, or other administrative body when the Department, or any Department component or employee (in his or her official capacity as a VA employee), is a party to litigation; when the Department determines that litigation is likely to affect the Department, any of its components or employees, or the United States has an interest in the litigation, and such records are deemed to be relevant and necessary to the legal proceedings; provided, however, that the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.

10. 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.

11. Records from a system of records may be disclosed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) (including U.S. Attorneys) or in a proceeding before a court, adjudicative body, or other administrative body when litigation or the adjudicative or administrative process is likely to affect VA, its employees, or any of its components is a party to the litigation or process, or has an interest in the litigation or process, and the use of such records is deemed by VA to be relevant and necessary to the litigation or process, provided that the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.

12. 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.

13. Disclosure of information may be made when (1) it is suspected or 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 or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure is to agencies, entities, and 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 disclosure by the Department to respond to a suspected or confirmed data breach, including the conduct of any risk analysis 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.

14. VA may disclose identifying information, including social security number, concerning veterans, spouses of veterans, and the beneficiaries of veterans to other federal agencies for the purpose of conducting computer matches to obtain information to determine or verify eligibility of veterans receiving VA medical care under Title 38, U.S.C.

15. VA may disclose patient identifying information to federal agencies and VA and government-wide third-party insurers responsible for payment of the cost of medical care for the identified patients, in order for VA to seek recovery of the medical care costs. These records may also be disclosed as part of a computer matching program to accomplish this purpose.

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

STORAGE:

Magnetic tapes/disks and optical discs. Electronic data are maintained on Direct Access Storage Devices at the AITC. The AITC stores registry tapes for disaster backup at a secure, off-site location. Electronic backup files for the regional SCIDO-R applications are stored at the Regional Data Processing Center (RDPC1) at Denver, CO also for disaster backup at a secure, off-site location.

RETRIEVABILITY:

Records are indexed by name of Veteran, social security number, and unique patient identifiers.

SAFEGUARDS:

1. Data transmissions between VA health care facilities and the VA databases housed at the AITC are accomplished using the Department's wide area network. The SCIDO-Repository program and other programs at the respective facilities automatically flag records or events for transmission based upon functionality requirements. VA health care facilities control access to data by using VHA's VistA security modules. The Department's Telecommunications Support Service has oversight responsibility for planning, security, and management of the wide area network.

2. Access to records at VA health care facilities is only authorized to VA personnel on a “need-to-know” basis. Records are maintained in staffed rooms during working hours. During non-working hours, there is limited access to the building with visitor control by security personnel. Access to the AITC is generally restricted to AITC staff, VA Central Office employees, custodial personnel, Federal Protective Service, and authorized operational personnel through electronic locking devices. All other persons gaining access to the computer rooms are escorted. Backup records stored off-site for both the AITC and VA Central Office are safeguarded in secured storage areas.

3. Strict control measures are enforced to ensure that access to and disclosure from all records including electronic files and Veteran-specific data elements are limited to VHA employees whose official duties warrant access to those files. The automated record system recognizes authorized users by keyboard entry of unique passwords, access, and verify codes.

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

Records will be maintained and disposed of in accordance with record disposition authority approved by the Archivist of the United States. Depending on the record medium, records are destroyed by either shredding or degaussing. Optical disks or other electronic media are deleted when no longer required for official duties.

VA has submitted a request for records disposition authority to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for approval. Upon approval by NARA, VA will publish an amendment to this System of Records. In the interim, no records will be destroyed.

SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

Official responsible for Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Outcomes—Repository design, development, and maintenance: SCIDO Program Specialist (128N), 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, Washington 98108.

Official responsible for policies and procedures: Chief Consultant, Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Services (128N), 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, Washington 98108.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

An 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 record, should submit a written request or apply in person to the last VA facility where medical care was provided or submit a written request to the Chief Consultant, Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Services (128N), 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, Washington 98108. Inquiries should include the Veteran's name, social security number, and return address.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:

An individual who seeks access to records maintained under his or her name may write or visit the nearest VA facility or write to the Chief Consultant, Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Services (128N), 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, Washington 98108.

CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

(See Record Access Procedures above.)

RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

Various automated record systems providing clinical and managerial support to VA health care facilities, the Veteran, family members, accredited representatives or friends, and “Patient Medical Records—VA” (24VA19) system of records.

[FR Doc. 2012-9043 Filed 4-13-12; 8:45 am]

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