Important Notice: The Hanford Health Information Network (HHIN) closed in May, 2000. HHIN Web pages are provided as archived information only, and are not currently maintained. Information contained on the HHIN Web pages may be out-of-date.
All HHIN publications are available.
Please Note: The Hanford Health Information Network closed in May 2000. This publication was written in the Spring 1998. Information here about studies and projects may be out of date. For information up to May 2000, see: Hanford-Related Studies.
A PUBLICATION OF THE
Working with Health Care Providers
This information sheet offers suggestions that can help you in your search for a physician, naturopath or other type of health care provider. It also provides tips for building a more effective relationship with your provider.
A primary goal of the Hanford Health Information Network is to increase the number of health care providers who are knowledgeable about Hanford and radiation health effects and who are empathetic towards those who were or may have been exposed. The Network offers a self-study guide for health care professionals.
FINDING A PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER
Finding a provider who is right for you is an important decision. The following tips can help you in this process. Also see HHIN's Complementary Medicine publication.
Initially, it's important to find a primary care provider who can coordinate your care. Your needs will be best served by one provider who is aware of your health history, medications, and past treatment, including what has worked and what has not. Primary care providers can also help you keep down medical costs by recommending appropriate specialists only. Primary care providers are often called general practitioners (GPs) and can be either a physician, osteopath, naturopath, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant. Physicians and osteopaths who are considered primary care providers usually specialize in family medicine or internal medicine.
To find a primary care provider, start by asking friends and family. Tell them about the type of provider you are looking for and the particular things that are important to you, such as someone who is knowledgeable about downwinder concerns.
After tapping your own network, you may wish to call on some of the following resources to help you find the type of provider you want who is in your area.
Call your state Academy of Family Physicians for a list of licensed family physicians. The American Academy of Family Physicians (1-800-274-2237) can provide the phone number of the state organization. Or check with your state or county medical society.
Call your state or county osteopathic association. The American Osteopathic Association (1-800-621-1773) publishes a national directory of osteopathic physicians and specialists. The American Academy of Osteopathy (317-879-1881) can refer you to osteopathic physicians in your state.
Call the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (512-442-4262) for a referral in your state.
Contact the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians to request a national referral directory and a brochure about naturopathic medicine. Order by sending $5.00 to AANP, 601 Valley Street, Suite 105, Seattle, WA 98109.
Call your state chiropractic association. Or contact the American Chiropractic Association (1-800-986-4636) for a list of chiropractors in your area.
THINKING ABOUT PRACTICAL CONCERNS
To find out about the provider's availability and affordability, call the office and ask for the following information:
1. Where does the provider have offices and what are the office hours? (Make sure both are convenient for you.)
2. Who covers for this provider on his/her days off?
3. Is someone on-call after office hours?
4. Can the provider be easily reached in an emergency?
5. Is he/she affiliated with a hospital? Which one and where is it located?
6. Does this provider accept payment from your current health insurance plan?
7. If your health insurance plan has a "preferred provider" list, is the provider on that list?
8. Does the provider's office bill the insurance company directly or do you need to pay up front and send in the claim forms yourself?
9. What does the provider charge for a routine office visit? Is there a charge for telephone consultations?
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS IN CHOOSING A PROVIDER
It's important to know that the provider you have selected is competent, convenient and affordable. It is equally important that you be able to establish a good working relationship with him/her. To determine whether a provider is right for you, listen carefully to how the provider responds when you discuss your health concerns. Consider the following:
1. Is this provider someone you feel comfortable talking to?
2. Does this provider seem to take you and your concerns seriously?
3. If you bring up health concerns related to the releases from Hanford, how does this provider respond?
4. Does this provider use words you understand when explaining medical information?
5. Will this provider include you in helping to solve problems?
Keep in mind that you don't need to continue with a provider with whom you cannot develop a good relationship or whose judgment you question.
COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY WITH YOUR NEW PROVIDER
Once you have a health care provider with whom you feel comfortable, it's important that you be able to communicate effectively with him/her.
Be prepared and ask questions
Write down your questions and a list of your symptoms before you get to the office. During the visit or right after, write down the answers so you can remember what was said. If you don't understand something, ask your provider to explain it to you. If you are unhappy about a particular treatment or diagnosis, tell your provider about your concerns.
You can take a spouse, partner, friend or relative with you into the examining room. Sometimes another person can help you remember what to ask and what the provider told you.
Help your provider help you
Bring your past medical records with you to your first appointment or let the provider know where he/she can obtain them. Tell your provider about all medications you are currently taking including vitamins, aspirin, birth control pills or any herbal medications. Certain drugs can interact with each other and cause health problems, so your provider needs to know what you are already taking. He/she should also know if you smoke or use alcohol or other drugs.
You can also help your provider by bringing information about Hanford's radioactive releases to his or her attention. You can take with you to your appointment HHIN's Health Bulletin.
Don't be afraid to ask your provider to explain why he/she is ordering specific tests and how much they cost. Encourage your provider to involve you in making decisions about the tests that are ordered as well as any treatments he/she prescribes.
Use the phone effectively
Make sure you know what you want to say before you call. This will help keep your phone call short and to the point. If the health care provider is with a patient, you may ask to speak with a nurse. Often the nurse can handle routine calls. He/she can give the information to your provider and call you back with a response. For example, a refill for a medication can be called in to the pharmacy by a nurse.
If you feel that you still would like to speak directly to your provider, say so. Give the nurse a number where you can be reached after hours. Providers will often make an effort to reach a patient at home if they are unable to call you during office hours. (There may be a charge for a telephone consultation.) Be aware that you may be asked to schedule an appointment if your needs cannot be met over the phone.
Be your own advocate
Educate yourself about your condition or medical problem. Often there are many things you can do on your own to manage a chronic illness.
Libraries can also be quite helpful. Depending on where you live you might be able to use a university library or hospital library. They will often have better resources on medical issues than a public library.
Discuss what you have learned with your health care provider and work with him/her to develop a treatment plan that will work best for you. Remember, if you have doubts about your diagnosis or recommended treatment, you can always seek a second or third opinion.
RELATED MATERIALS AVAILABLE FROM HHIN
* Complementary Medicine: An Introduction to the Health and Disease Approaches of Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tribal Healing - Provides a basic understanding of five health care approaches that may be considered complementary or alternative to conventional medicine practiced by medical doctors (MDs) in the United States.
* Coping with Uncertainty and Illness: Concerns of Hanford Downwinders - Focuses on the physical and emotional concerns expressed by Hanford downwinders and strategies for coping, including building a good relationship with your provider.
* Annotated Bibliography: Coping with Uncertainty and Illness - Lists books available at your library or bookstore.
* Health Bulletin - An information sheet designed to help people talk with their health care providers about the health effects of radioactive materials released from Hanford.
* Reprints from HHIN’s Connections newsletter: "The Patient-Doctor Relationship" (Winter 1996), Making Health Care Choices" (Winter 1997)
* Selected Sites on the World Wide Web - Lists Internet sites about radiation and health concerns. For health care professionals
* Radiation Health Effects: A Monograph Study of the Health Effects of Radiation and Information Concerning Radioactive Releases from the Hanford Site, 1944 to 1972 - This is a self-study guide for health care professionals.
Published Spring 1998
Important Notice: The Hanford Health Information Network (HHIN) closed in May, 2000. HHIN Web pages are provided as archived information only, and are not currently maintained. Information contained on the HHIN Web pages may be out-of-date.
All HHIN publications are available.
A PUBLICATION OF THE
An Introduction to the Health and Disease Approaches of Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tribal Healing
Since the Hanford Health Information Lines opened in 1993, many people have asked us about different approaches to improving health and preventing disease other than the health care available from medical doctors. In response to these questions, the Network has prepared this introductory publication.
The purpose of this publication is to provide a basic understanding of five health care approaches that may be considered complementary or alternative to conventional medicine practiced by medical doctors (M.D.s) in the United States. Four of these–chiropractic, naturopathy, osteopathy and traditional Chinese medicine–are licensed professions in the United States. The fifth section discusses the approach of tribal healing.
For each, this publication addresses several questions: How is the health care profession or approach defined? How does the approach view the relationship between health and disease? What education and training are required? What kinds of diagnostic, treatment and preventive methods are used? How does the practice view the ways that environmental exposure to radiation affects the body? The final section of this publication addresses the question: Where can people find more information?
Chiropractic, naturopathy, osteopathy and traditional Chinese medicine were chosen for this publication because they are nationally recognized and licensed in many or all states. Licensed health care practitioners must be graduates of an accredited school. Typically, licensing also indicates that the practice has a disciplinary system in place.
Tribal healing was chosen because it is practiced by many American Indians and used among the nine Indian nations that participate in the Hanford Health Information Network.
All five practices view and treat each patient not only as a physical being, but also as an emotional, intellectual and spiritual one. This view is often referred to as holistic thinking or an holistic approach to health care.
Practitioners in these fields treat patients who are in any state of health–actively fighting disease, in the early stages of disease, or in good health. Their emphasis is on preventive care. Each practice shares the view that the body has a natural tendency to be well and that the causes of health problems may be successfully treated before the body enters a disease state.
To prepare this publication, Network staff gathered information from professional associations where available and interviewed a practitioner within each field. The practitioners we interviewed are highly regarded by their colleagues nationally. Information from on-line and other resources supplemented our research.
The chiropractic profession views the body's structure and function as interconnected. Chiropractic gives special attention to the nervous system and the relationships among the spine, muscles, brain and heart, as well as other organs and body systems.
Manipulation or adjustment of the spine is typically used by chiropractors to eliminate disturbances of the nervous system. The underlying philosophy is that an impaired nervous system may reduce the body's ability to adapt to environmental change, injury or stress, thus reducing its ability to ward off disease.
To earn a doctor of chiropractic degree (D.C.), students must complete two years of college with a science emphasis and four to five years of chiropractic college. To practice, a D.C. must pass a national board exam and separate licensing exams in the state where he or she intends to work. The chiropractic profession is licensed and officially recognized in all 50 states.
Chiropractic care relies on active communication between the practitioner and the patient. Chiropractors are trained to closely observe how patients' lifestyles may affect health, by taking into account environmental, nutritional, psychological and other factors.
A chiropractor may use interviews, physical exams, postural and spinal analysis, lab tests, patient self-assessments, and X-rays as diagnostic tools. Besides spinal adjustments, chiropractic care may include dietary advice, nutritional supplements, physical therapy, rehabilitative exercises and professional counsel. Chiropractors, by law, may not prescribe medication nor perform surgery. The state of Oregon, however, allows chiropractors to perform minor surgery.
Interview with Virgil Strang, D.C., President of Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa:
"Everybody has their own individual ability to be well and all of us are involved in an environment. Viruses, bacteria, toxins, poisons, radiation, etc., may be considered environmentally generated attacks on the body. The body's tendency to be well reacts with these environmental factors. The body is usually successful, otherwise people wouldn't be well.
"The immune system and all other body systems and organs are controlled by the nervous system. The nervous system's job is to relate to the environment and tell the body what to do. Information received through the cranial-spinal nerves travels through the spinal cord to the brain. The nervous system is housed in a skeletal framework. Chiropractors believe that the nervous system can be impaired by faulty framework (skeletal misalignments) that can lead to a compromised immune system.
"Structural distortions, we have found, impair the ability of the nervous system to report what the body has to do or interfere with the messages that it sends to the organs. The focus of chiropractic is correcting or adjusting these distortions."
Naturopathic physicians use primarily natural substances and processes–such as nutrition, diet and supplements, herbal medicine, exercise, lifestyle changes, homeopathic remedies and body cleansing–to treat illness and disease and to promote wellness. The underlying purpose is to eliminate the cause of the illness from the body and increase the body's ability to heal itself.
To earn a doctor of naturopathic medicine degree (N.D.), students receive undergraduate training in standard premedical courses, complete four years at an accredited naturopathic medical school, and pass a national board exam.
Naturopathic physicians are trained as primary-care practitioners with an emphasis on preventive medicine and natural therapies. Naturopaths may specialize in a specific treatment method or in a particular problem area such as pediatrics, allergies, natural childbirth or homeopathy.
The legal status of naturopaths varies in different states. Several states have laws to license N.D.s. In states that do not license naturopathy, N.D.s sometimes practice under other medical licenses (e.g., the L.Ac.–licensed acupuncturist).
Like chiropractors, naturopaths emphasize open communication with patients. Diagnostic methods may include a pre-visit questionnaire, patient interview, complete physical exam, lab tests, lifestyle and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, and allergy tests. Some states allow naturopaths to use X-rays.
Treatments may include counseling, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, physical therapy, water and moisture therapy, acupuncture, minor surgery, massage, and manipulation of the muscles, bones and spine. In general, naturopaths are not allowed to prescribe medications nor perform major surgery. A notable exception is the state of Washington where naturopaths may prescribe antibiotics, thyroid medicines, progesterone and some other drugs. Interview with Walter Crinnion, N.D., environmental medicine and allergies specialist, Bellevue, Wash.
"The basic principle of naturopathic medicine is to treat the cause, not the symptom. We ask what causes the problem and then, what can we do naturally to strengthen the body's ability to heal itself.
"If a body cannot heal itself, it either doesn't have the nutrients necessary, or there is some toxin or stress present that is literally poisoning it. This could be emotional, psychological or environmental stress. We live in a polluted world. Radiation, chemicals and electromagnetic forces represent environmental stress on the body.
"The adverse effects of radiation on the body, in my opinion, are fairly well documented. I don't think there is really any debate about that. It is not healthy for the body.
"For downwinders, initially I would be very concerned about the thyroid and would look at all hormone levels. In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, I would recommend vitamin C and other antioxidants such as vitamin E, selenium, and beta carotene.
"Downwinders should be careful about other environmental exposures, including cigarette smoke, pesticides and solvents. Their bodies' ability to fight off the effects of other exposures is not the same as that of someone who did not have this radiation exposure."
An osteopath is a primary-care physician whose approach includes manipulating patients' muscles, joints and spine. Osteopathy views the body's structure and function as interconnected. Osteopathic theory emphasizes that the motion of joints, muscles and ligaments influences the body's circulatory and nervous systems.
To earn a doctor of osteopathy degree (D.O.), students must complete four years of college with a science emphasis, and four years of osteopathic medical school. Following this classroom training, a D.O. must serve a one-year internship gaining experience in internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, family practice, pediatrics and surgery. Many D.O.s then choose to serve a two- to six-year residency specializing in an area such as internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, radiology or pathology.
Osteopathy is licensed in all states. Osteopaths must pass a national board exam and, like M.D.s, a state medical board exam in order to obtain a license and enter practice.
Diagnostic tools used by osteopaths include lab tests, X-rays, physical exams, postural and spinal analysis, and limb and structural movement observations.
The circulatory system and the nervous system are thought of by osteopaths as the body's tools for regulating and communicating, responsible for the health of organs and tissues. By using a variety of manipulative treatment therapies, osteopaths work to enhance the supply of blood to the body and the flow of information through the body's nervous system. D.O.s are fully trained and licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery.
Focusing on muscles and the skeleton, osteopaths emphasize preventive medicine and healthy lifestyles. Proper nutrition and exercise are often recommended along with more conventional medical treatments. Interview with John M. Jones III, D.O., College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, Calif.
"Health and disease lie on a continuum. Good health is when things are working well. You feel you have energy; you have good interaction within your family and with your community. Health has to do with your mind and spirit, as well as your body. The further you get from health on the continuum, the closer you get to disease.
"Everyone in the United States is exposed to environmental toxins that have affected their health. It's important to keep a positive mental attitude and do everything you can to maximize health. Hanford downwinders probably need to be more prevention-oriented than other people.
"The effects of environmental exposure depend on how severe the damage to the body was. The osteopath's scientific view of exposure would be the same as an M.D.'s. But in addition, we deal with physical complaints by focusing on the musculoskeletal system and working with tissues to help the body function better and decrease pain.
"There is a higher incidence of some types of cancer in patients exposed to higher levels of radiation. In someone with breast cancer, I would work with the lymphatic system as well as affected muscles and the upper back to assist the body to function at its highest possible level in that region. This would be complementary to conventional medical treatment.
"D.O.s tend to be more open-minded about alternative treatments a patient is interested in doing. If it's not hurting you, it may be helping. One of the most important things I can give people is hope. When you believe your body is likely to stay healthy, you are more likely to stay healthy. There's a strong mind-body connection. Personal faith can also be a strong support for an individual.
"For someone with cancer, some D.O.s may recommend organic vegetables and fruits, since they have more nutritional value, and a person in cancer treatment needs this. Some D.O.s also use herbs to stimulate the appetite or relieve symptoms."
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
Like naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on natural substances and processes. Observing the natural world helps TCM practitioners understand the body and how energy flows through it. The underlying philosophy is that balance and harmony for the total person can be achieved, maintained and restored through herbs and acupuncture, but also through lifestyle changes, nutrition, massage and exercise.
In TCM, health is viewed as an ongoing process of maintaining a balanced, harmonious flow of energy through the body. Illness and other symptoms result when the energy flow is blocked or there is an imbalance. TCM works to strengthen the body's ability to resist illness and disease. Both physicians and non-physicians may practice acupuncture. Generally, physicians who practice acupuncture have completed a minimum of 200 hours of training. Non-physician acupuncturists complete two or more years of training at a recognized or accredited acupuncture school.
The legal status of acupuncturists varies in different states. Thirty-two states currently license, certify or register acupuncturists. Some states limit the practice of acupuncture to M.D.s, D.O.s and D.C.s. Other states allow acupuncture under the supervision of a licensed physician. In a few states, there are no regulations for acupuncture.
The TCM practitioner arrives at a diagnosis by identifying patterns in a patient's signs and symptoms. Patterns can reflect the condition of internal organs and energy flow. The TCM practitioner may examine a patient's tongue, pulse, skin, bones, emotions, demeanor and body build. Each has qualities and nuances that help identify what may be causing the person's symptoms.
Some practitioners arrive at a diagnosis primarily through observations. Others may conduct an interview or use pre-visit questionnaires to get a thorough picture of the pattern of symptoms.
Treatments focus on herbs and acupuncture. Herbs may be prescribed in raw or extract form to be consumed in tea, or in tablet form to be swallowed. Acupuncture is the insertion of small needles into the skin at certain points in the body's energy flow. A few practitioners use electrical stimulation of inserted needles, or burn a specific type of herb on an acupuncture point. Other treatment methods include meditation, Chinese massage and breathing exercises.
Interview with Daniel Bensky, a D.O. who specializes in Chinese herbal medicine, Co-Director of the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine, Seattle, Wash.
"TCM gets the body to do its own work. The TCM practitioner works with the body's systems rather than overriding how the body wants to work. Health is a harmonious state. Disease is a disharmonious state. Disharmony can mean that there is a depletion in the body, a stagnation, or that different parts of the body are not working together.
"Practitioners of TCM would look at the effects of radiation as similar to heat and dryness – like very, very intense weather. Many times people have heat that leads to toxicity. Downwinders should try to make their lives as harmonious as possible, emotionally, physically, mentally, etc. Eat healthy foods, get enough exercise, make sure to keep breathing, and work on relationships. People with tendencies to get certain kinds of problems can try acupuncture, herbs, meditation and different kinds of breathing practices.
"There are herbs that are helpful for certain kinds of cancers. Treatments with a combination of herbs can be developed for a particular person's disharmony and disease. If a person is receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy, there are herbal treatments for keeping the person as healthy as possible and decreasing the side effects."
Interview with David Baines, board-certified family physician and member of the Tlingit Tribe of Alaska, St. Maries, Idaho
"Healing is the gift to focus the power of the Creator and positive energy from family members on the person in need. I work with a lot of tribal healers, although I am not one myself. Traditional healers emphasize spirituality in people rather than the physical. Certainly, they do look at the person as a whole, but healers focus more on a belief system and the tribal view of disease and wellness. I chose family medicine because it has a holistic approach to healing and takes into account family dynamics. Indian culture is very family or group oriented.
"There is a definite relationship between spirituality and health. In medical school I learned that it is more important to understand what kind of patient has a disease than what kind of disease a patient has. Most tribes believe that in order to stay healthy, you need to have harmony of mind, body and spirit, as well as harmony with your family, friends and environment.
"Traditional healers try to identify where harmony has been lost and then correct the problem through prayer, herbs and ceremonies. Healing treats the cause of the problem; it's healing from the inside. Generally, tribal belief holds that the physical world and the spirit world form the circle of life. There is a thin veil between the two worlds. Healers can cross this veil to the spirit world to make diagnoses and determine treatment options. Treatments depend on the healer's specific gift. "There are more than 500 different tribes and each belief system is different. Beliefs about how healers (or medicine people) become healers, how they get their powers, and how they interact with patients are quite variable.
"In some tribes, the gift of healing is hereditary. In other tribes, people have a vision of an ancestor returning to give them the power. How a healer uses the gift comes directly from the Creator. Ceremonies are learned from the tribe's elders. There is no school or formal training for healers.
"The environment that we live in is not healthy, so our relationship with the environment cannot be healthy. This causes imbalance and allows disease to occur. The health effects may not happen right now, but can occur up to seven generations later.
"When people feel out of balance, they go to their healer. The healer tries to correct what harm has been done and lower the health risk. Traditional healers try to make what existence a person is going to have be more productive and healthy. They can help people strengthen themselves and ward off the ill effects of toxic exposure.
"Healers are more than happy to use the gift to help anyone, but the Creator gave them gifts because it matches their tribal culture and belief systems. If someone comes in with another culture and belief system, it's not that healing can't help, but it may not be a good match.
"Every day we must walk the healthy road, keeping in harmony with ourselves, other people and our environment. We must try to keep the environment as healthy as possible because it is a part of us and we are a part of it."
Cohen, Misha Ruth O.M.D., L.Ac. The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness. Berkeley Publishing Group, 1996. 299 pp.
Collinge, William, M.P.H., Ph.D. The American Holistic Health Association Complete Guide to Alternative Medicine. Warner Books, Inc., 1996. 361 pp.
Hammerschlag, Carl. The Dancing Healers. Harper & Row, 1988. 170 pp.
Jones, Bob. The Difference a D.O. Makes, a book available through the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, (405) 528-4848.
McGill, Dr. Leonard. The Chiropractor's Health Book. Crown Publishers, 1997. 192 pp.
Morton, Mary and Michael. Five Steps to Selecting the Best Alternative Medicine: A Guide to Complementary and Integrative Health Care. New World Library, 1996. 327 pp.
Moyers, Bill. Healing and the Mind. Doubleday, 1993. 363 pp.
Murray, Michael N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Prima Publishing, 1991. 600 pp.
Weil, Andrew M.D. Spontaneous Healing: How to discover and enhance your body's natural ability to maintain and heal itself. Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. 281 pp.
Available From the HHIN
Coping with Uncertainty and Illness — Concerns of Hanford Downwinders: A Network publication that discusses ways of coping with the physical and emotional concerns expressed by Hanford downwinders (November 1995).
Annotated Bibliography: Coping with Uncertainty and Illness: A bibliography of books about maintaining health and coping with illness; developed as a supplement to the Coping publication listed above (Fall 1995).
Published Summer 1997
PUBLICATION OF THE
How to Obtain Worker Records from the U.S. Department of Energy
HERE YOU'LL FIND...
Kinds of Records
Process for Obtaining Records
Records of Relatives
All Hanford workers have access to their dosimeter and medically related records from the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE). The following information explains how to obtain worker records.
Question: What kinds of records should I ask for?
Answer: There would be dosimetry records if the employee was ever issued a dosimeter (a device for measuring radiation exposure). However, DuPont employees who left Hanford when General Electric took over the contract, but remained employees of DuPont, may be able to obtain their records by writing to:
Hall of Records
Wilmington, DE 19898
There would be medical records on all Hanford employees who had a physical exam or who had medical treatment at a Hanford-related health facility.
Answer: Radiation exposure and medical records are available to living individuals under the Privacy Act, and to the next of kin of deceased individuals under the Freedom of Information Act. You may obtain your own records from the USDOE in one of two ways:
1. You may fill out a "Privacy Act Information Request" form. If you have any questions regarding the Privacy Act or need to obtain this form, please contact the Privacy Act Office at (509) 376-2516.
2. You may send a notarized letter which cites the Privacy Act and provides your date of birth, Social Security Number, address, and a phone number where you can be reached. Send your letter to:
Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer
U.S. Department of Energy
RL and ORP
P.O. Box 550, Mailstop A7-75
Richland, WA 99352
Answer: You may request records of deceased next-of-kin by citing the Freedom of Information Act. The USDOE, in this instance, needs some proof of death (a copy of a death certificate, for example), the dates the person worked at Hanford, their Social Security number and date of birth. You must also provide a copy of your birth certificate, marriage license, or some other evidence of your relationship to the deceased person. Send your request to the Freedom of Information Officer at the address listed above.
Answer: Usually two or three weeks. Older records may have been transferred to the Records Center in Seattle and will have to be retrieved.
Published Spring 1995Click Here to Search This Site
Hanford History and Information about Releases of Radioactive Materials into the Environment: 1944-1972
Overview of Radiation and Known and Potential Health Effects
Coping with Uncertainty and Illness
Monograph for Health Care Providers
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