BasicMed after alcohol problem

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Anonymous, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I'd like to get back into recreational flying after getting over a very difficult time in my life related to alcoholism. If BasicMed certification is something I could easily obtain, I'd like to go for it. If not, then I'm going to forget the whole idea of flying again on my own. I just want to resume $100 hamburger flights, pattern work, renting a C172 from the local FBO, etc. like I used to do. Reading the BasicMed form, I would have to answer "yes" to question 18-O regarding "alcohol dependence or abuse" and imagine this sets off every red flag in their book.

    Here's the background:
    -Obtained a private certificate in the late 1990s, but have not flown since 2014. Last BFR in 2013.
    -Always had 3rd class medicals with no restrictions other than wearing corrective lenses. Last medical was a 3rd class obtained in 2012. I am under age 40.
    -Had some pretty serious alcohol problems in 2014 through early 2017. Attended inpatient rehab for a month in early 2017. Have been 100% sober since that time. Very active AA member. I have zero interest in returning to my old lifestyle and have made a lot of changes in my life since putting the bottle down.
    -No history of DUI ever, no criminal record of any kind, not even so much as a parking ticket, no aviation related incidents. Never used illegal drugs in my life.
    -I was prescribed a SSRI in late 2016. I took it for about a month and then stopped. I also took high blood pressure medication from around the same time until I quit drinking in early 2017. I take no prescriptions currently.
    -Not sure if it ties into what the FAA takes into consideration, but I had a life insurance application denied in 2016 because they checked my medical records and found information relating to some outpatient urgent-care type visits I had in 2015-2016 related to excessive alcohol consumption.
    -Moved to a new area a few months ago. Have not obtained a new primary care doc yet.

    What will happen when I answer "yes" to 18-O when at the Doctor's office to obtain the BasicMed approval? Do I have any chance at this? What do you folks think? Once again, I am not interested in a long, drawn-out expensive "HIMS" battle, this is just a hobby, not my career, so without the BasicMed I'll just pursue my other interests. Or maybe just fly very infrequently, with an instructor along each time.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Interesting case. If the doc doesn't Basic Med you, you may still be okay with LSA and your driver's license. I don't think the Basic Med docs ever turn in anything that would stop you from "forum shopping" to get someone to push it through or prevent LSA.

    There are two very senior AME's here that will probably chime in shortly.
     
  3. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Why not go LSA and avoid anything remotely related to an FAA medical?
     
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I've thought about that. I am now in an area where the rental fleets do have some of these available. I cannot justify a purchase of a LSA though. My only concerns would be: a lack of confidence with a model of aircraft I have no experience with, after a 5 year flying lapse, and 500+ hours solely in C-172/C-150 before then; and, understanding/getting past what exactly the FBO is going to want to see in terms of medical paperwork in order to rent the LSA. Are they just going to want to see my valid drivers' license and private certificate?
     
  5. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    You can't do BasicMed if you've had "a substance dependence within the previous 2 years"; you'd have to do a SI first and you don't want to go there. Flying as a Sport Pilot is likely your only option (and not a bad option at that).
     
  6. Rushie

    Rushie Pattern Altitude

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    So he had inpatient rehab in early 2017 and hasn't touched a drop since. Does that mean after early 2019 he will be able to go for BasicMed without it being an issue? That's only a few months away.
     
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  7. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's all that the place I rent from wants to see for LSA rental, but FBOs are free to set higher standards than the FAA if they choose.
     
  8. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    OP, when you answer “yes” to 18-O and go in for a Basic Med exam, one of two things will happen: the doctor will sign the form or the doc will not sign the form. (Assuming here that enough time has lapsed so you don’t require an SI for substance abuse.)

    That’s it. The questionnaire does not go to the FAA.

    Hopefully your doc will tell you what actions or treatment will be sufficient for him to agree to sign. If not, find another doc.
     
    bflynn likes this.
  9. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    There are three categories of conditions which trigger SI requirements in Basicmed: Cardiac, Neurological or Mental Health. Substance abuse falls under the Mental Health category. The relevant language in BasicMed is
    • A substance dependence within the previous 2 years, as defined in §67.307(a)(4) of 14 Code of Federal Regulations
    So my reading of that is to look in 67.307 and find the definition. It does not say to apply the entire section, just to refer to that section for the definition of substance dependence. Substance Dependency is defined as:

    My take is that if you are sober and you have been for two years (in early 2019( then you are qualified to fly under BasicMed. It will be up to your doctor to concur and if it were me, I'd probably want to see some testing done, trusting you, but wanting to verify.

    I know people will disagree with this read - but I'm reading the words of the law and doing what they say. I would think that if Congress intended this to be run under the same rules as a 3rd class, then the language would have been different. Rather than merely referencing the definition, they would have referenced the procedure. I also note that the BasicMed language explicitly limits the look back to two years, not indefinitely.

    It is ambiguous depending on what some people think it ought to mean vs what it actually says. I am parsing the words, not adding additional meaning.
     
    PeterNSteinmetz likes this.
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I did see on the BasicMed website that a SI is required if the substance abuse is within the last 2 years. I can technically clear that by just waiting a few months. My concern is that 18-O on the form is requiring you to report the abuse if it occurred "any time" in your life. I don't understand what criteria if any the Doctor is given for determining whether you can "pass" or not if you have substance abuse in your past that occurred more than 2 years ago prior.

    It also seems like if I wait 3 years after the time around when I got sober, I do not have to report all of the numerous visits to a variety of healthcare providers that occurred just prior to then for reasons relating to my condition at the time. (Question 19).

    I certainly would not mind just waiting until 2-3 years have passed since my sobriety date if it would make this all a lot easier. That would put me into early 2019 or early 2020 at the latest.
     
  11. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    Aviation aside, congratulations on finding sobriety and changing your life.

    I hope one of the resident AMEs on the forum will be able to give you good information about returning to the air.
     
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  12. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There are no government-mandated criteria for the examining physician to follow. It's entirely up to him or her to decide whether you're safe to fly.
     
  13. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    Do you have a decent relationship with your PCP? Talk to them about it. I would think if you are seeing them regularly over the last few years they would notice the change.

    Glad to hear you are sober and working through it.
     
  14. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'd speak with Dr Lou @lbfjrmd or Dr Bruce @bbchien and find out what your options are before proceeding.
     
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  15. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, hire one of them as a consultant, and then follow their advice. It is an excellent value.
     
  16. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So you went voluntarily into alcohol rehab and gave them your actual name and/or paid with insurance?
     
  17. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    Not saying don't but why make it harder than it has to be? Talk to the doctor if he will sign the basic med you are good to go. You have evidence of sobriety and are actively working to maintain it. If the doc says no then start looking at other options.
     
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I went in basically after ultimatums from my family and employer. Employer’s health insurance paid for almost all of it. Real name of course.
     
  19. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Remember, regardless of whether a doc signs your BasicMed CMEC or not, you do not qualify for BasicMed if you have any of the medical conditions identified in 68.9, so make sure two years has indeed passed in accordance with 68.9(a)(1)(iv).

    While it's not the case in your scenario, it's worth mentioning that if there was a DUI or similar, when you register for BasicMed you agree to allow the FAA to pull your National Driver Registry (NDR) file. If there's an unreported (a la 61.15(e)) motor vehicle action that comes back there is the likelihood for certificate action, and even if you're BasicMed, the FAA can ask for more information on the event. 68.11 gives the administrator authority to do so and take certificate action if necessary. My point is: BasicMed is not a good alternative to avoiding DUI consequences. Not an issue in the OP's situation, but worth mentioning for others who stumble across this thread at a later date.
     
  20. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bummer you had to give them your real name, it’s a shame when people take a positive course of action, only for it to have negative repercussions in our scarlet letter/database of a culture.
     
  21. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Great respect for the two gentlemen you're referring to...but no AME has a special certification in BasicMed. They aren't trained in BasicMed, they don't do them, unless they perform them as a state licensed doctor outside their AME practice.

    I agree that their AME training increases their knowledge of aeromedical issues, but the rules that an AME follows for an FAA medical do not apply to BasicMed.
     
  22. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    If you had a long-term relationship with your old primary physician, you might want to go back to him for the basic med exam. Someone who has been treating you for years and knows your history already might feel more comfortable signing you off than a guy who just met you and hears all of this for the first time.