VA Staff Members Secretly Record Veterans
September 24, 2018
USVCP Staff Writers
A veteran received a letter in the mail from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) three months after attending a social function at his local VAMC. The letter informed the disabled veteran that his current disability compensation rating is under review for a major reduction. Shocked! Angry! Disappointed. The veteran is at a loss for words, and numb. The letter goes on to mention that the veteran was witnessed by several VA staff members appearing to be “normal” and seemed to function better than average. The letter suggests that the veterans’ PTSD symptoms have decreased significantly. Also, the letter suggested that several VA staff members observed the veteran in a social gathering at the local VAMC where the veteran engaged in games of higher abstract thought, and that the veteran played them very well.
The veteran asked himself, “Who are the VA staff members who reported such information? Why was the information gathered? How was it gathered? Was I under surveillance?”
Veterans from California to New Jersey have reported that VA staff members secretly record veterans while they visit the VAMC, VARO, CBOC or Vet Center. Could this be true or just a rumor?
More than likely, true. But, not in the way most veterans want to believe it happens.
Most veterans are under the impression that VA personnel routinely spy on them whenever they set foot on Government property. Much of the banter about VA personnel scrutinizing a veterans’ every move is due in part to conversations veterans have while waiting to see a medical professional at their local VAMC. One veteran will mention to another veteran that his medical progress notes have information annotated in them that could have only come from the waiting room intake specialist. Suggesting, that veterans are consistently being spied on.
As part of their daily duties, VA personnel have to record what they observe, especially as it pertains to the care and well-being of veterans. For instance, if a veteran becomes unruly or combative with VA staff members, such encounters are annotated in the veterans’ permanent VA records. The information is easily obtainable by VA staff whenever they gain access to the veterans’ record.
If a veteran attends a social gathering on VA property, typically, the hosting agency will have staff members who will take notes about the function and the interaction of all veterans in attendance. Oftentimes, the information will go in the veterans’ permanent VA record.
The record reflects that this rumor has a lot of truth to it, but in a fashion that is to serve the veteran in more beneficial terms, rather than adversely and intentionally trying to harm the veteran. Most VA staff members are sure they’re daily note taking is for the veterans’ best interest, and not to harm the veteran. On occasion, well-intended “progress notes” by VA staff members can have unpleasant affects for the veteran.