Meeting Mandatory Infectious Disease Reporting Requirements: The Department of Veterans AffairsÍ Plan


There are currently no federal laws mandating the reporting of infectious diseases to public health authorities. Reporting requirements reside at the state level and such laws do not apply to federal agencies including the VA. Heretofore, VA's reporting of infectious diseases to public health authorities has been strictly voluntary, and has been accomplished via traditional methods (phone, mail, and fax) that are highly prone to human error, create a significant administrative burden, and do not adequately safeguard the privacy of Veterans' data. Previously, without a reporting mandate applicable to VA facilities, public health authorities have had an incomplete picture of the VA contribution to the overall infectious disease burden existing in the larger population. Moreover, at a national level, the VA has not had the ability to monitor the prevalence of the various infectious diseases within its own 151 hospitals and 827 community-based outpatient clinics. Nor has the VA been able to meet the spirit of the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health Act's Meaningful Use requirements, mandating electronic exchange of information.


In June 2013, in anticipation of the passage of proposed federal legislation (S 875 and HR 1792), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a Directive requiring mandatory reporting of infectious diseases to various public health authorities (VHA Directive 2013-008). In terms of implementation strategies, the ideal is to build on an existing technology, optimize the quality and completeness of reporting, and minimize additional work burdens on VA staff.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
September, 2013

April 28, 2019

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