Release of Protected Health Information to Commanders

Friday October 8, 2010

What it is?

Commanders play a vital role in the health and wellness of Soldiers and therefore must receive Soldiers' protected health information (PHI) from medical providers to make informed decisions about a Soldier's fitness and duty limitations. There are however, limits to the information providers may release. The Army must balance a Soldier's right to privacy with mission requirements and the commander's right to know.

What has the Army done?

The Army Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, issued a "Vice Sends" message in May 2010 that required providers to discuss with Soldiers how PHI may be released to their commander. The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, issued new PHI policy guidelines in June to Army Medical Command personnel. Medical personnel must notify commanders about their Soldiers' PHI if the Soldiers' condition affects his or her fitness for duty, if a law or regulation requires commander notification, or if the mission of the Army requires commander notification.

Some examples of when PHI may be released to commanders include: Soldiers' duty restrictions, changes in duty or deployment status, medications that may limit duty performance, DoD drug test results, immunizations, temporary or permanent profiles, medical line of duty determinations, Army weight control or any time Soldiers are perceived as a threat or potential risk to themselves or others.

What does the Army have planned for the future?

To enhance continuity of care, military treatment facility commanders are required to develop procedures locally to inform Soldiers' commanders anytime a Soldier is a "no show" for medical/dental appointment. Soldiers are also required during a permanent change of station to in and out process behavioral health services at their departing and gaining medical treatment facilities. Both efforts are to promote a Soldier's continuity of care.

Why the release of PHI to commanders is important to the Army?

Collaborative communication between commanders and healthcare providers is essential for Army readiness and the health and wellness of Soldiers. Commanders and healthcare providers are equally responsible for ensuring Soldiers' PHI remains safe from unauthorized disclosure to help the Army reduce stigma for Soldiers and eliminate barriers to care.


AKO log in required:

ALARACT, 160/2/10 VCSA Sends on Protected Heath Information (PHI), 282049Z May 10

AR 40-66, Medical Records and Healthcare Documentation, June 17, 08 with Rapid Action Revision, Jan. 4, 10 RAR Edition - AR40-66 - dated Jan. 4, 10

OTSG/MEDCOM Policy Memo 10-042, Release of Protected Health Information (PHI) to Unit Command Officials, Jun. 30, 2010





This Week in History: Still the Forgotten War

Updated on the first of each month: Army Professional Writing







Subscribe to STAND-TO! to learn about the U.S. Army initiatives.


2010-2013: 60th Anniversary of the Korean War

Sept 15- Oct 15: National Hispanic Heritage Month

October 2010

Energy Awareness Month

Depression Education & Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Oct. 6 & 7: Medal of Honor White House & Pentagon ceremonies for Staff Sgt. Robert Miller

Oct. 25-27: AUSA annual meeting


"SSG Robert James Miller was an outstanding Soldier and a hero - he was a funny, generous, passionate and determined man. And glimpsing these brief moments of his life leads to an inescapable conclusion: he was someone we would all like to know...someone we would like to call friend. Someone we could always count on. He lived his tragically shortened life to the fullest; He died making a difference. As one of his teammates put so well, "Rob Miller was the best 'Blackhawk Down' partner you could possibly have"...and that's the highest tribute a Soldier could ever hope for. A life that while too short...was a life of extraordinary measure."

- Secretary of the Army John McHugh , at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes Induction Ceremony for SSG Robert J. Miller

Oct. 7, 2010 - Remarks at Pentagon Hall of Heroes Induction Ceremony for SSG Robert J. Miller


Tributes from teammates to the Medal of Honor recipient, Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller -

"He took his job 100 percent serious. From what I saw he loved what he did. "

- Master Sgt. James Lodyga

"His ability for languages was off the meter, very capable of communicating with the locals and they loved him for it."

- Sgt. First Class Michael Saragosa

"He was always pushing himself to know more and to be the best."

- Staff Sgt. Nicholas McGarry

Medal of Honor Tribute: Staff Sgt. Miller


STAND-TO! is an information paper-based web platform that supports the U.S. Army’s strategic communication objectives.

The information papers -- written, approved and submitted by the Army agencies -- provide a broad, objective view of the Army’s current operations, doctrine and programs. The "Today’s Focus" topics highlight Army Staff initiatives and support Army wide strategic-level issues.

All published editions are sent to subscribers via email and archived daily in the STAND-TO! Archives.

STAND-TO! falls under the management of the Online and Social Media Division (OSMD) in the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA).

Subscribe to STAND-TO! to learn about the U.S. Army initiatives.