August 1, 2006
All veterans enrolled in the VA health care system are strongly encouraged to replace their old cards before August 2007.
HOUSTON - In order to reduce veteran vulnerability to identity theft and to demonstrate VA’s commitment to securing the confidential personal information of enrolled veterans, all VA medical facilities, including the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), are replacing prior versions of veteran and patient identification cards with a new, more secure one. This new card eliminates the sensitive identifying information printed on the front of the other cards.
The VA provides a Veteran Identification Card (VIC) for veterans to use at VA medical facilities. The VIC is issued only to veterans who are eligible for VA medical benefits and only for the purpose of identification and check-in for VA medical appointments.
Prior versions of veteran and patient identification cards display information such as a veteran’s full social security number and date of birth. This is considered to be an unwarranted risk for veterans receiving health care services from VA.
The new VIC contains a one inch by one inch color photo; the veteran’s name (not embossed); a barcode; and service-connected, former Prisoner of War, and/or Purple Heart identifiers as applicable. No other personal information is visible on the card. The barcode and magnetic strip on the card contains information so VA health care providers can access the patient’s medical record in VA’s Computerized Patient Record System.
Use and distribution of the new VIC actually began a few years ago, but there was no requirement for VA facilities or veterans to replace the older cards until now. All veterans enrolled in the VA health care system are strongly encouraged to replace their old cards before August 2007.
Veterans receiving care at the MEDVAMC are able to replace their old cards by stopping by the VIC Room in the Admissions Area near the Emergency Room in Houston, or the check-in desks at the outpatient clinics in Lufkin, Beaumont, Texas City, and Galveston. A clerk at these locations will take the veteran’s photograph and the new VIC will be mailed to the veteran in seven to 10 days. Veterans are strongly encouraged to update their contact information including home address and telephone numbers at this time.
For more information about the new VIC card, contact the MEDVAMC Eligibility & Enrollment Office at (713) 794-7288 or visit the VA’s Eligibility Web site at www.va.gov/healtheligibility.
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