Veteran and military medical records have been held by various military and government agencies at different times, and each service branch has had slightly different policies with regard to these records. Making things more complicated is that military medical records were treated differently depending on whether they related to outpatient medical services or were related to treatment requiring a hospital stay, so you will likely have to check in at least two places for complete military medical records history:
- Since 1960, hospital inpatient records only have been maintained in the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). NPRC has maintained these records in bulk accessions retired each year by the creating hospital, rather than with each individual personnel file. Therefore, most of these hospital inpatient records are filed by the name of the hospital in which the service member was treated. As such, the NPRC needs the name of the hospital, month (if known), and year of treatment, as well as the veteran’s name and Social Security or service number to locate these clinical records.
- Health records covering the outpatient, dental and mental health treatment that former members received while in military service are stored in a different location. Health records include induction and separation physical examinations, as well as routine medical care (doctor/dental visits, lab tests, etc.) when the patient was not admitted to a hospital. Military medical records and hospitalization records from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are not included in these medical records. In general, those discharged from military service after 1979 will find their service medical records at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans who plan to file a claim for medical benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) do not need to request a copy of their military health record from the NPRC. After a claim is filed, the Veterans Affairs will obtain the original health record from the NPRC on behalf of the requesting patient.
The NPRC offers a web site and service which can help gather and organize your military medical records, called eVetRecs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers MyHealtheVet, a free, online Personal Health Record for military veterans.