The Veterans Affairs Department is taking a major step toward implementing new rules designed to prevent the sharing of private information with the public without the consent of the person sharing it.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday it will establish new rules to prevent VA employees and contractors from sharing personally identifiable information with each other.
“It is important to make sure that we can have a clear picture of what is happening in the workplace and how to respond to situations that might arise,” Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement.
Shulkin also said the new rules will require all VA employees to receive a written warning when sharing personal or confidential information with another person.
If an employee or contractor is identified in the VA employee’s or contractor’s personal information, they will have the opportunity to request that their information not be shared.
VA said it will share with the government any information collected in response to a violation of the new rule.
It is a significant step in the right direction,” said David Daley, a former VA deputy secretary and a former attorney general.
Vets are being required to receive training on the new regulations, and Shulke said he has asked VA to provide more details about what information will be shared and when.
As the VA’s health care system is a civilian one, it is up to VA to protect the health and safety of the VA workforce and the public, he said.
Under the new regulation, VA employees are required to provide any and all personally identifiable data to the VA and will have a right to request the data be destroyed.
An employee or contract employee sharing information with a contractor will have no obligation to destroy the information or take any steps to protect that information.
Under the proposed rules, VA will require employees and contractor to share the following information with federal officials: Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses, dates of birth, and employment information.
AVA said that if a federal official or government agency asks for information on an individual, the information will need to be given in writing and will be treated as confidential.
Veterans, veterans families, and veterans organizations will be able to request any and any VA employee to share their personally identifiable biographical information with them.
The department is also requiring VA employees who receive VA medical care and services to notify the VA of any information shared, or that they have shared personally identifiable personal information in a VA medical facility or VA facility, unless VA employees have been advised not to share that information with VA employees or contractors.