National Archives at St. Louis

Types of Medical Records

NOTE:  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 VA will obtain the original health record from the NPRC. In addition, many health records were lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs prior to the 1973 Fire.  Veterans who filed a medical claim should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in order to determine if their record is already on file. The VA Toll Free # is: 1-800-827-1000 - it will connect the caller to the nearest VA office.

Be specific as to what is wanted (asking for all medical records, just gets Health record, NOT In-patient Record):

The Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), held at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), are administrative records containing information about the subject's military service history. Many OMPFs (but not all) contain both personnel and former active duty health records, but the service branches discontinued retiring the health record portion to the NPRC in the 1990s.

Medical Record Type Description
HEALTH RECORD / SERVICE MEDICAL RECORD / SERVICE TREATMENT RECORD All mean the same thing – physicals and outpatient medical information
DENTAL RECORD Routine Dental exams, fillings, dental work, etc.
IN-PATIENT RECORD

Remained overnight in a hospital
Must specify hospital name, Location, Dates or approximate month/year of treatment.

MENTAL HEALTH RECORD Most veterans/retirees do NOT have such a record

Health records cover the outpatient, dental and mental health treatment that former members received while in military service. 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.

In comparison, clinical (hospital inpatient) records were generated when active duty members were actually hospitalized while in the service. Typically, these records are NOT filed with the health records but are generally retired to the NPRC by the facility which created them (see clinical records for more information). Medical records from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are also not included.

Back to NPRC Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Information Page

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