[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 14 (Monday, January 22, 2001)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6764-6766]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-1561]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

ACTION: Notice of Amendment to VA System of Records--Voluntary Service 
Records--VA.

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SUMMARY: The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that all agencies publish in 
the Federal Register notice of the existence of their systems of 
records. Notice is hereby given that the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) is amending the system of records entitled ``Voluntary Service 
Records--VA'' (57VA125) as set forth in the Federal Register at 42 FR 
6032 dated 02-01-77. The number of the system is changed from 57VA125 
to 57VA10C2 to maintain consistency of numbering with the Office code 
for the VA Voluntary Service (VAVS). VA is amending the system by 
including a purpose, by adding a new routine use, and by revising the 
paragraphs for System Location and Policies and Practices for Storing, 
Retrieving, Retaining, and Disposing of Records in the System, 
including Storage, Retrievability and Safeguards. VA is republishing 
the system notice in its entirety.

DATES: Comments on the amendment of this system of records must be 
received no later than February 21, 2001. If no public comments are 
received, the new system will become effective February 21, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Written comments concerning the proposed new system of 
records may be submitted to the Office of Regulations Management (02D), 
Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 
20420. Comments will be available for public inspection at the above 
address in the Office of Regulations Management, Room 1158, between the 
hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Veterans Health Administration (VHA) 
Privacy Act Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont 
Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20420, telephone (727) 320-1839.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VAVS has been an integral part of the VA 
system since 1946 and operates the largest Volunteer Program in the 
Federal government supplementing staff and resources in all areas of 
patient care and support. Its mission is to provide a structured 
Volunteer Program under the management of VA compensated employees in 
cooperation with community resources to serve America's veterans and 
their families with dignity and compassion. VAVS volunteers assist 
veteran patients by augmenting staff in such settings as hospital 
wards, nursing homes, community-based volunteer programs, end-of-life 
care programs, foster care, and veterans outreach centers. VAVS 
volunteers and their organizations annually contribute millions of 
dollars in gifts, donations, and time. Volunteers are a priceless asset 
to these veterans and VA. Electronic and paper records are maintained 
in Voluntary Service to include master records of Regularly Scheduled 
(RS) Volunteers, documents of participation of Occasional Volunteers, 
signed ``Waiver of Claims to Remuneration Agreement,'' parental or 
guardian consent forms for student volunteers, etc. Voluntary Service 
administrative and general correspondence files will be maintained in 
accordance with Records Control Schedule (RCS) 10-1. Voluntary Service 
has determined as a matter of policy to record hours and visits of all 
volunteers each month. These paper and electronic records and 
information may be used for tracking the number of RS Volunteers, 
Occasional Volunteers, and student volunteers; to produce statistical 
and managerial reports on the number of hours and visits of all 
volunteers each month; and to present volunteers with appreciation 
awards for service. The processing of this data is accomplished by 
utilizing the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology 
Architecture (VISTA).
    Routine use 1 has been replaced by three routine use disclosure 
statements that more accurately reflect disclosing relevant information 
to agencies charged with enforcing the law conducting investigations. 
All of the routine use disclosure statements were renumbered. Two 
routine use disclosures have been added to assist in the administration 
of the VAVS program. Relevant information may be disclosed to the 
Department of Justice and United States Attorneys in defense or 
prosecution of litigation involving the United States, and to Federal 
agencies upon their request in connection with review of administrative 
tort claims filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2672. If 
one of the volunteer drivers is in an accident while driving a Disabled 
American Veterans vehicle, and there is litigation concerning the 
accident, VA must be able to provide relevant information. This 
information may include what assignment the volunteer has and whether 
or not the volunteer was listed as having worked on the day or days in 
question. A similar situation would apply if any volunteer were injured 
while volunteering at VA. Relevant information may be disclosed to 
individuals, organizations, private or public agencies, etc., with whom 
VA has a contract or agreement to perform such services as VA may deem 
practicable for the purposes of laws administered by VA, in order for 
the contractor or subcontractor to perform the services of the contract 
or agreement. VA occasionally contracts out certain of its functions 
when this would contribute to effective and efficient operations. VA 
must be able to give a contractor whatever information is necessary for 
the contractor to fulfill its duties. In these situations, safeguards 
are provided in the contract prohibiting the contractor from using or 
disclosing the information for any purpose other than that described in 
the contract.
    The Austin Automation Center (AAC) is designated as the corporate 
database for this program. Data transmission between the AAC and VA 
health care facilities is accomplished using the Department's wide area 
network. All transmissions include header information that is used for 
validation purposes. In addition, consistency checks in the software 
are used to validate the transmission, and electronic acknowledgment 
messages are returned to the sending application. Strict control 
measures are enforced to ensure that access to, and disclosure from, 
all records are limited to Voluntary Service employees whose official 
duties warrant access to files. The automated electronic record system 
recognizes authorized users by keyboard entry of a series of unique 
passwords. Employees are required to sign a user access agreement 
acknowledging their knowledge of

[[Page 6765]]

confidentiality requirements, and all employees receive annual training 
on information security. Working spaces and record storage areas in 
Voluntary Service are locked during non-business hours.
    The notice of intent to publish and an advance copy of the system 
notice have been sent to the appropriate Congressional committees and 
to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as 
required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) (Privacy Act) and guidelines issued by OMB 
(61 FR 6428), February 20, 1996.

    Approved: January 5, 2001.
Hershel W. Gober,
Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
57VA10C2

System Name:
    Voluntary Service Records--VA.

System Location:
    Paper and electronic records are maintained at each of the VA 
health care facilities. Only electronic records are maintained at the 
Austin Automation Center (AAC), Austin, Texas. Active records are 
retained at the facility where the individual has volunteered to assist 
the administrative and professional personnel and at the AAC. Basic 
information for all inactive records is retained at the facility where 
the volunteer worked.

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System:
    All volunteers, regularly-scheduled and occasional, including non-
affiliated and members of voluntary service organizations; and welfare, 
service, veterans, fraternal, religious, civic, industrial, labor, and 
social groups or clubs which voluntarily offer the services of their 
organizations and/or individuals to assist with the provision of care 
to patients, either directly or indirectly, through VA Voluntary 
Service under Title 38, United States Code, section 513.

Categories of Records in the System:
    Administrative records containing personal information about the 
individual making application to become a volunteer in a VA health care 
facility, VA regional office, or VA cemetery. These minimum records 
include the volunteer's name, address, social security number, date of 
birth, telephone number, next-of-kin information, assignments worked, 
hours and years of service and last award received. Information 
relating to the individual membership in service organizations, 
qualifications, restrictions and preferences of duty and availability 
to schedule time of service. Medical and training records pertaining to 
the volunteer's service will also be maintained for all active 
volunteers at the facility where the volunteer works.

Authority for Maintenance of the System:
    Title 38, United States Code, section 513.

Purpose(s):
    The records and information are used for tracking the number of 
Regularly Scheduled (RS) Volunteers, Occasional Volunteers, and student 
volunteers; to produce statistical and managerial reports on the number 
of hours and visits of all volunteers each month; and to present 
volunteers with certificates of appreciation for service.

Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, Including Categories 
of Users and the Purposes of Such Uses:
    1. Any information in this system, except the name and address of a 
veteran, which is relevant to a suspected violation or reasonably 
imminent violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in 
nature and whether arising by general or program statute or by 
regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto, may be disclosed to 
a Federal, State, local or foreign agency charged with the 
responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation, or 
charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, rule or 
order issued pursuant thereto.
    2. The name and address of a veteran, which is relevant to a 
suspected violation or reasonably imminent violation of law, whether 
civil, criminal or regulatory in nature and whether arising by general 
or program statute or by regulation, rule or order issued pursuant 
thereto, may be disclosed to a Federal agency charged with the 
responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation, or 
charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, regulation, rule or 
order issued pursuant thereto, in response to its official request.
    3. The name and address of a veteran, which is relevant to a 
suspected violation or reasonably imminent violation of law concerning 
public health or safety, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in 
nature and whether arising by general or program statute or by 
regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto, may be disclosed to 
any foreign, State or local governmental agency or instrumentality 
charged under applicable law with the protection of the public health 
or safety if a qualified representative of such organization, agency or 
instrumentality has made a written request that such name and address 
be provided for a purpose authorized by law.
    4. Volunteer records may be used to confirm volunteer service, duty 
schedule, and assignments to service organizations, Bureau of 
Unemployment, insurance firms, office of personnel of the individual's 
full-time employment; to assist in the development of VA history of the 
volunteer and his/her assignments; and to confirm voluntary hours for 
on-the-job accidents, and for recognition awards.
    5. Disclosure may be made to a Congressional office from the record 
of an individual in response to an inquiry from the Congressional 
office made at the request of that individual.
    6. Disclosure may be made to the National Archives and Records 
Service, General Services Administration, in records management 
inspections conducted under authority of Title 44 United States Code.
    7. Relevant information may be disclosed to the Department of 
Justice and United States Attorneys in defense or prosecution of 
litigation involving the United States, and to Federal agencies upon 
their request in connection with review of administrative tort claims 
filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2672.
    8. Relevant information may be disclosed to individuals, 
organizations, private or public agencies, etc., with whom VA has a 
contract or agreement to perform such services as VA may deem 
practicable for the purposes of laws administered by VA, in order for 
the contractor or subcontractor to perform the services of the contract 
or agreement. VA occasionally contracts out certain of its functions 
when this would contribute to effective and efficient operations.

Policies and Practices for Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining, 
and Disposing of Records in the System:
Storage:
    Magnetic tapes of all active volunteers are maintained at the AAC 
in Austin, Texas. The AAC only maintains data on active volunteers. 
Paper documents for all active volunteers are maintained at the 
individual VA facilities where the volunteer has donated time. Computer 
files containing such basic information as the volunteer's name, 
address, social security number, date of birth, telephone number, next-
of-kin information, assignments worked, hours and years of service and 
last award received are retained for all volunteers, either active or 
inactive, at the VA

[[Page 6766]]

facility where the individual currently volunteers or has volunteered.

Retrievability:
    All volunteer records are retrieved by name, social security number 
(SSN) or pseudo SSN.

Safeguards:
    Physical Security:
    1. Access to VA working space areas and the AAC is restricted to VA 
employees on a ``need to know'' basis. Generally, VA file areas and 
computer rooms are locked after normal duty hours and are protected 
from outside access by the Federal Protective Service.
    2. Strict control measures are enforced to ensure that access to 
and disclosure from all records including electronic files stored in 
the Volunteer Management System in VistA are limited to VAVS employees 
whose official duties warrant access to those files. The system 
recognizes authorized employees by a series of individually unique 
passwords/codes and the employees are limited to only that information 
in the file which is needed in the performance of their official 
duties.
    3. Any sensitive information that may be downloaded or printed to 
hard copy format is provided the same level of security as the 
electronic records. All paper documents and informal notations 
containing sensitive data are shredded prior to disposal.
    4. All new VAVS employees receive initial information security 
training, and refresher training is provided to all employees on an 
annual basis.
    5. Access to the AAC is generally restricted to Center employees, 
custodial personnel, Federal Protective Service and other security 
personnel. Access to computer rooms is restricted to authorized 
operational personnel through electronic locking devices. All other 
persons gaining access to computer rooms are escorted. Information 
stored in the computer may be accessed by authorized VA employees at 
remote locations including VA health care facilities, Information 
Systems Centers, VA Central Office, and Veterans Integrated Service 
Networks. Access is controlled by individually unique passwords/codes 
which must be changed periodically by the employee.

Retention and Disposal:
    The paper and electronic records will be maintained and disposed of 
in accordance with the records disposition authority approved by the 
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

System Manager(s) and Addresse(s):
    Official responsible for policies and procedures: Director, 
Voluntary Service Office (10C2), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 
Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20420.
    Official maintaining the system: National Automated Information 
Systems Coordinator, VA Medical Center, 2907 Pleasant Valley Blvd., 
Altoona, Pennsylvania 16602-4377.

Notification Procedure:
    Individuals seeking information concerning the existence and 
content of their service records must submit a written request or apply 
in person to the VA health care facility where their voluntary service 
was accomplished. All inquiries must reasonably identify, to the VA 
facility, the portion of the volunteer's service record they want 
information about and the approximate dates of service, in order to 
receive that information. Inquiries should include the volunteer's 
name, social security number or pseudo SSN, organization represented, 
date of birth, and last address while serving as a volunteer to VA.

Records Access Procedures:
    Volunteers, dependents, survivors or duly authorized 
representatives seeking information regarding access to and contesting 
of VAVS records may contact the Voluntary Service office at the VA 
health care facility where the individual was a volunteer worker.

Contesting Record Procedures:
    (See Record Access Procedures above.)

Record Source Categories:
    Information in this system of records may be provided by the 
volunteer, the family of youth volunteers, civic and service 
organizations, and the VA health care facility.

[FR Doc. 01-1561 Filed 1-19-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P