Defending Those Who Defend Us®
  • Do Military Servicemembers Have Any Meaningful Rights Under the Privacy Act of 1974?

    If you are an active duty servicemember who is under investigation for drugs, the answer is unequivocally, “No.” As a general matter, Federal law requires that records which contain information on the identity, diagnosis, prognosis or treatment of individuals in a substance abuse rehabilitation program are confidential and are authorized to be disclosed under limited circumstances only. The confidentiality requirement does apply to all healthcare providers within the armed forces who are furnishing healthcare to servicemembers. However, the commanding officer of a servicemember involved a DoD alcohol or drug abuse program has access to all confidential information disclosed by that member to his/her healthcare provider.

    The commanding officer’s ability to review confidential information of a servicemember extends far beyond drug investigations. Servicemembers who are under investigation for such things as alcohol abuse, DUI, suicidal ideations, or spousal abuse should be very careful as to what they say to their healthcare providers, because what they say may very well be used against them in any future involuntary separation board, or court-martial.

    Active duty servicemembers must be fully aware that you do not own your medical file…the command does. Here at MJA, we constantly remind our clients to never make any statements to law enforcement, command representatives, and we include healthcare providers as well, because any incriminating statements will be used against them in any future adversarial hearing.

    We would be honored to serve as your advocate and partner during the period of your military legal process. Please get in touch and arrange your free initial consultation.

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