38 CFR 14.804 - Factors to consider.
In deciding whether to authorize the disclosure of VA records or information or the testimony of VA personnel, VA personnel responsible for making the decision should consider the following types of factors:
(a) The need to avoid spending the time and money of the United States for private purposes and to conserve the time of VA personnel for conducting their official duties concerning servicing the Nation's veteran population;
(b) How the testimony or production of records would assist VA in performing its statutory duties;
(c) Whether the disclosure of the records or presentation of testimony is necessary to prevent the perpetration of fraud or other injustice in the matter in question;
(d) Whether the demand or request is unduly burdensome or otherwise inappropriate under the applicable court or administrative rules;
(e) Whether the testimony or production of records, including release in camera, is appropriate or necessary under the rules of procedure governing the case or matter in which the demand or request arose, or under the relevant substantive law concerning privilege;
(f) Whether the testimony or production of records would violate a statute, executive order, regulation or directive. (Where the production of a record or testimony as to the content of a record or about information contained in a record would violate a confidentiality statute's prohibition against disclosure, disclosure will not be made. Examples of such statutes are the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and ssections 5701, 5705 and 7332 of title 38, United States Code.);
(g) Whether the testimony or production of records, except when in camera and necessary to assert a claim of privilege, would reveal information properly classified pursuant to applicable statutes or Executive Orders;
(h) Whether the testimony would interfere with ongoing law enforcement proceedings, compromise constitutional rights, compromise national security interests, hamper VA or private health care research activities, reveal sensitive patient or beneficiary information, interfere with patient care, disclose trade secrets or similarly confidential commercial or financial information or otherwise be inappropriate under the circumstances.
(i) Whether such release or testimony reasonably could be expected to result in the appearance of VA or the Federal government favoring one litigant over another;
(j) Whether such release or testimony reasonably could be expected to result in the appearance of VA or the Federal government endorsing or supporting a position advocated by a party to the proceeding;
(k) The need to prevent the public's possible misconstruction of variances between personal opinions of VA personnel and VA or Federal policy.
(l) The need to minimize VA's possible involvement in issues unrelated to its mission;
(m) Whether the demand or request is within the authority of the party making it;
(n) Whether the demand or request is sufficiently specific to be answered;
(o) Other matters or concerns presented for consideration in making the decision.