CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES
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CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES. Mr. Doug Flynn Head, Congressional/BSO Action Team – M09B3 MTF and Beneficiary Support Services, Office of the Secretariat Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Washington, DC 202-762-3178 [email protected] 1. CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

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CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

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Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Mr. Doug Flynn

Head, Congressional/BSO Action Team – M09B3

MTF and Beneficiary Support Services, Office of the Secretariat

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Washington, DC

202-762-3178

[email protected]

1


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

OBJECTIVES

GETTING STARTED

UNDERSTANDING THE INQUIRY

RESPONSES

INCORPORATING THE 5W’s

ANSWERING THE MAIL

EXAMPLES

2


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

GETTING STARTED

  • Take charge

  • Don’t put off responses

  • Re-direct within 24 hours or you own it…..

  • Coordinate with subject matter experts (SMEs)

  • Ask the tough questions - prepare the response – It’s your job!

3


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Understanding the Inquiry

  • What are the key points?

  • Multiple issues/concerns?

  • Do all issues fall under yourdirectoratespurview?

    • Issues or concerns outside your purview should

      be forwarded for review and response as deemed

      appropriate

      Reimbursement Active Duty Claims – MMSO

      Retirement of Medical Records – NPRC - DVARMC

      Medical Discharge – PEB

      Burial at Sea Program - MMSO

4


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Do you have a signed Privacy Act Release or a DD Form 2870 Authorization for Disclosure of Medical or Dental Information?

SECNAVINST 5211.5E of 28 Dec 2005

5


Congressional inquiries

PA RELEASE AND HIPAA SIMPLIFIED

Congressional Inquiries (CIs) from the constituent (information owner) not involving

Personal Information (PI) or Protected Health Information (PHI)

PA release form NOT required.

CIs from a 3rd party not involving PI/PHI

PA release form NOT required – But… RECOMMENDED as a safeguard

CIs from the constituent involving PI

PA release form NOT required.

CIs from the constituent involving PHI

HIPAA release form DD Form 2870 REQUIRED.

CIs from 3rd party involving PI

PA release form REQUIRED.

CIs from 3rd party involving PHI

HIPAA release form DD Form 2870 REQUIRED.

DD Form 2870 signed by person whose PHI will be released

RECOMMENDATION

CIs involving Quality Assurance (QA) information i.e., quality of care investigations

DO NOT release without consult from Legal Office.


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Responses

(Written and Verbal)

  • Brief, clear and to the point

  • Eliminate confusing technical jargon - Write in layman terminology

  • Acronyms - Spell it once - abbreviate the rest!

  • A one page response is preferred (not the rule)

  • Must be answered within 5 working days per SECNAVINST 5730.5H of May 2005

  • Interim letter of acknowledgement required when deadline

  • cannot be met

  • Did you know: the average individual reads at a 7th grade level

7


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Incorporating the 5 W’s

6320

Ser M09B3/06UCON-0012121h

September 26, 2007

The Honorable Ben Cardin

United States Senator

Tower 1, Suite 1710

100 S. Charles Street

Baltimore, MD 21201

Dear Senator Cardin:

Thank you for your letter of April 24, 2007, on behalf of your constituent, Captain (CAPT) John J. Jennings, Medical Service Corps, USN, Retired (who) . CAPT Jennings is seeking clarification of policy (what)regarding dispensing of medications by the pharmacy department at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda (where). Specifically, CAPT Jennings claims he was denied certain medications (why) in August 2007 (when) because his prescriptions were written by his private physician vice a military healthcare provider.

6


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Answering the Mail

  • Interim responses should provide - as much relevant information available at the time of your response - the reason additional time is needed and - the date a final response can be expected

  • Single point-of-contact to screen and assign all Congressional Inquiries (Typically Code EA)

  • Always coordinate with Congressional office and never contact a constituent without prior approval or consent from Congressional Staffer or POC

8


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Answering the Mail

  • Before putting pen to paper, know what you are going to say

  • Writing a letter off of the top of your head often results in a meandering, disorganized, and sometimes misleading message

  • Know who you are responding to and their attitude toward you before composing your response.

  • Put yourself in the reader's place

  • A document that practices the "you-attitude" relays a concern for the reader's interests and gives the reader the impression that his/her concerns and issues matter. Jackie Palmer, Texas A&M University

9


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Answering the Mail

  • Get to the point….

  • Avoid obvious statements such as:

  • "You wrote and asked me for the current Department of Defense formulary”

  • instead try…..

  • "Here is the current Department of Defense formulary you requested."

  • If you can not do what the individual wants, tell them what you can do.

10


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Answering the Mail – Don’t Be Sorry!

  • Avoid apologies as a way to show sympathy unless it is

  • absolutely necessary

  • Apologies not backed by action carry little weight.

  • Constituents will be more impressed by good reasons and

  • evidence of action to correct a problem than by the most sincere

  • apology.

  • Apologies have the potential to be read as expressions of

  • personal responsibility.

  • In our culture, we tend to say, "I'm sorry" to show people we sympathize with their situations. However, this could be perceived as inappropriate in a business context because in legal terms, every word put in black and white is legally binding.

11


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Answering the Mail – Check it Once, Twice

  • Content and Political Issues

  • Be aware of individual concerns

  • Include relevant recent events or changes in policy

  • Highlight organization's successes

  • Format Issues

  • Develop a checklist to ensure that letters are:

    • accurate

    • include correct titles and addresses

    • spelling – Document Control Numbers (DCN)

    • enclosures

    • envelopes

12


Congressional inquiries

Letterhead Paper

DoD Seal

SSIC

Ser # and DCN #

Date

2 sp

Inside

Address

2 sp

Salutation

2 sp

5 sp

Body

2 sp

5 sp

2 sp

5 sp

2 sp

5 sp

2 sp

Closing

2 sp

Complimentary

Closing

4 sp

Signature

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 July 2006

Typed

Signature

Block

13


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Addressing Members of the Senate:

The Honorable Carl Levin

United States Senator

Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building477 Michigan Avenue, Suite 1860Detroit, MI 48226-2576

The Honorable Carl Levin

U.S. Senate

269 Russell Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510-2202

Dear Senator Levin

Dear Mr. Chairman (Armed Services Committee)

STATE/DISTRICT

SENATE OFFICE

WASHINGTON DC

SALUTATION

14


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

Addressing Members of the House:Members of Congress

The Honorable Charles W. Dent

Member, United States House of

Representatives

701 West Broad Street Suite 200 Bethlehem, PA 18018

The Honorable Charles W. Dent

United States House of Representatives

502 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. DentDear Representative Dent

STATE/DISTRICT

HOUSE OFFICE

WASHINGTON DC

SALUTATION

15


Congressional inquiries

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

Doug Flynn – M09B3 September2007

QUESTIONS

Mr. Doug Flynn

Head, Congressional/BSO Action Team – M09B3

202-762-3178

Ms. Dorephine Williams

Assistant Congressional/BSO Action Team –M09B3A

202-762-3216

MTF and Beneficiary Support Services

Office of the Secretariat

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Washington, DC


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