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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 180-10
March 08, 2010

VA/DOD Expand Electronic Health Information Pilot to Eastern Virginia

                The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense today announced the next phase of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health Communities Program. This initiative improves care and services to our nation’s heroes by sharing health information using the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) developed under the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 
 
                DoD and VA selected the Virginia/Tidewater area of Southeastern Virginia as the next area to partner with due to its high concentration of veterans, military retirees, members of the guard and reserve, and active duty service members and their dependents. 
 
                In the Virginia/Tidewater area, VA and DoD will partner with private sector hospitals who have joined a regional health information exchange in this area. The Virginia/Tidewater pilot builds on the continuing success of the first pilot in San Diego with Kaiser Permanente.
 
                Service members and veterans in the Virginia/Tidewater area will be invited to participate in this health data exchange program scheduled to launch this year. Individuals who choose to participate will authorize their public and private sector health care providers and doctors to share specific health information electronically, safely, securely and privately. 
 
                The program, through policy and technology, places the highest priority on patient privacy and data security. No exchange of information will occur without the appropriate permissions of the individual patients. Access to care will not be affected by a decision not to participate.