Chief Counsel on Special Issuances and BasicMed

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by midlifeflyer, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Here's the scenario. Your Special Issuance Authorization expires in 2020. Your most recent Third Class medical, issued under the Authorization, expired in July 2018, and you have been relying on BasicMed since.

    May the FAA request additional information under the Authorization and "withdraw" the Authorization if you refuse, precluding your reliance on BasicMed?

    In October's Domingo interpretation, the Chief Counsel says no.

    "when an airman's special issuance medical certificate has expired and the airman is not in the process of seeking a new special issuance medical certificate, additional medical information is not reasonably needed for certification under§ 67.401. Consequently, the Federal Air Surgeon may not withdraw the Authorization based on the airman's failure to provide... "​

    A reminder: this is general information. As with all serious issues involving FAA certification, a pilot faced this situation should seek professional advice to be certain it applies to him or her.
     
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  2. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Another rexample of how one cannot interpret a decision, in a vacuum.

    The problem has been (3rd class) when you have another year avialable on your two year 3rd class "time since last flight physical", that if your doc's office forwards a document to the FAA, after the expiration, the FAA interprets it as start of a re-qualification, in the presence of a still valid underlying examination, and then issues a demand letter for the rest and then you can't / have no intention of producing the rest. The meaning of "not in the process" is all important in this situation (see Hanna, below).

    The trouble is also with the SI's that require sponsorship/compliance within the term of the SI. when the A/M does not provide the necssary AA logs, or the mid term medical follow prior to the granted expiration), the monitoring AME (usually drugs and alcohol), is by terms of the issuance forced to notify FAA which results in revocation and denial.

    Domingo actually changes nothing. The same process continues.

    So do not conclude from a limited search that in all cases you win the SI, then throw it away and get the Basic med and operate on it. Read your letter carefully. In the period of time after a third class expiration, when there is still within two years from your prior flight physical, BEWARE. You are renewing an (already existing) application from a year ago. You can still be denied.

    Thus my many comments about the "helpful Hanna" in the back of the big office who sees, "Oh, this goes to FAA" and she sends it. Make CERTAIN that your doc's office understands that the address of the FAA is your AME's office, and not OKC.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  3. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    So, can the "...FAA request additional information under the Authorization and "withdraw" the Authorization if you refuse..." before it expires in 2020? That's how I read the question.
     
  4. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ...only if provoked....by 'helpful hanna". The agency has to respond to anything it receives.
     
  5. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    To me, the interpretation was not responsive to the scenario presented which, from my experience (not medical), is par for the course.

    EDIT: I didn't see the link to the letter. Now that I've read it, the interpretation seems responsive after all, where it didn't by just reading the snippet in the OP.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  6. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And, you expected......what?
    (I mean Dave, really, you've been through this. You expected....what?)
     
  7. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    "I" didn't expect anything. This is somebody else's problem. In my case I didn't ask the Chief Counsel for an interpretation of Amendment 91-189, I asked the folks who wrote it. THEY then asked the Chief Counsel to answer me. I knew not to ask them, but wound up there anyway. One peeve of mine is they often (maybe never) show the question presented. They make up new questions and answer those, and attribute them to YOU!
     
  8. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Definitely a big problem. Gotta tell those docs not to forward squat without specific permission and, of course, there's no guarantee even then.

    And, as the interpretation itself points out,

    This memorandum is discussing situations in which a special issuance medical certificate has expired. The FAA is not addressing situations in which an airman attempts to surrender his special issuance medical certificate or the underlying Authorization.​

    A good reason for someone to say
     
  9. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    They've gotten better about including the request with the interpretation.
     
  10. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ...but no better at answering the intended query.....

    The point I am trying to make here is that if after expiration, there is still less than two years to the end from the underlying flight physical end-month date, the FAA has in the past interpreted the receipt of any information as the beginning of a reapplication. Nothing has changed. You cannot deny a man who has no medical, nor a man who has no application. It is this:

    "and is not in the process of seeking a new special issuance medical certificate" is open to interpretation. ....which is crucial. It is precisely the question NOT answered here that is problematic.

    Thus the aphorism, "you can't unring a bell". if an SI expired, you have to be sure that the date of your medical exam was not just the year ago, but was >TWO years ago, or you can be put into jeopordy by any "helpful Hanna", as has happened to some of my airmen. AFTER two years + the month fraction, everyone is in agreement that no action is taken unless there is a new exam placed on file.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  11. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    If you have an active medical certificate, you have an active medical certificate, and the federal air surgeon can pull your medical certificate and withdraw your SI authorization. I don't think that was ever a question. The letter in this case asked under what circumstances an airman who has previously held (but does not currently hold) a medical certificate could have his or her SI authorization withdrawn. The answer was clearly stated that "an airman's responsibility to comply with the terms of an unexpired Authorization- including a term that requires regular submission of medical information- terminates when the associated special issuance medical certificate expires."

    What's important to note that if an airman seeks a medical certificate with a special issuance so that they can later operate under BasicMed, they must adhere to the requirements of the special issuance for the duration of the medical certificate. They can't simply say, "OK, I got my medical certificate. I'm going to throw it in the trash and go BasicMed."
     
  12. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Would complying with the Chief Counsel's opinion letter require CAMI to stop assuming that data sent in by a "Helpful Hanna" constitutes an application on the part of the pilot?
     
  13. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Only an application would constitute an application.

    That said, credible information received by the FAA that reflects on a BasicMed registered airman's ability to safely operate an aircraft may trigger 14 CFR 68.11, which could result in the FAA requesting more information, and potentially take actions under 49 U.S.C. 44709(b). So it depends on what "Helpful Hanna" sent.
     
  14. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    So...don't ever go back to 3rd class unless you absolutely have to...check.
     
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  15. Titan Owner 4015

    Titan Owner 4015 Filing Flight Plan

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    If you get a SI and the SI expires in two years can you convert to basic med after those two years?
     
  16. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No, because the chief counsel does not address what constitutes "is not in the process of seeking a new application....".

    I never expected that they would.
    Sigh.
     
  17. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Bruce, regarding these Helpful Hannas, have you seen AMEs do this? Or non-AME physicians?

    One would hope an AME would know better, and I wouldn’t expect a non-AME to be sending the FAA anything, so what gives?
     
  18. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    it's usually a specialist office....
     
  19. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Just wondering out loud... Might this be what's happening, Bruce?

    Specialists often routinely send reports to a patient's primary. Having been asked/authorized (once) to send a report to OK City, it's on the "distribution list." Administrative snafu rather than a doctor thinking it's his continuing duty to report his patient's condition to the FAA.
     
  20. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Never forget that there are "Helpful Hannas" all over the place, and she thinks her way into obligations she was never delegated with by her boss, because she likes to feel important.

    How many times have you encountered people who are utterly ignorant of anything aviation, but have strong opinions about how aviation should work ("...no one should ever fly without a clearance!")? Now, give that person involvement in what she perceives as a safety-related aspect of aviation, medical, and she'll be tickled to "help."
     
  21. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Except... when would a non-AME doctor (specialist or even PCP) be authorized to send a report directly to the FAA? I never, not even once, asked any physician to do that. In every case, I either picked up the report myself or had it mailed to me, and either hand-delivered it to my AME or sent it myself to OKC, or else had the office fax the report to my AME. Even when it's a regular report that must be sent in in support of a continuing SI, I would never trust a doctor's office to "own" MY medical and organize and label the report to make sure it gets filed correctly at OKC. Are there SIs that require a regular report be sent directly from the physician to FAA? If not, this seems like a very risky precedent to set, and something AMEs should be cautioning airmen about.
     
  22. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Neither have I, and I would not recommend anyone do it. But you are I are not everyone.

    I've seen enough of these discussions to know that the "Helpful-Hannah-Doctor-intentionally-violating-patient-privacy" is very popular, particularly in these conspiracy-theory times. Just proposing a more innocent possible reason.
     
  23. Rushie

    Rushie Pattern Altitude

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    Yep. There was the one case we all know about (either on this forum or AOPA can't remember which) where the OP had a closed head injury and the director of the nursing home where he was recovering, upon finding out he was a pilot took it upon himself to notify the FAA.
     
  24. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I see no one answered you. Maybe it's because, like me, they don't really understand whether your question is making a distinction between a Special Issuance Authorization (which for the pilot takes the form of a letter), and the 1st, 2nd, or third class medical certificate.

    But, guessing a bit and generalizing, the existence of an SI doesn't affect your ability to go BasicMed. You can do it while your SI is active or after it expires. You can also go BasicMed before or after your third (or higher) class medical certificate expires, so long as it didn't expire before July 15, 2006.

    Suggest you read the FAA's BasicMed FAQ. Lots of helpful basic information.
     
  25. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As someone who goes to a slightly bureaucratic clinic, I can believe that.
     
  26. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Well, since none of my specialists sent anything directly to the FAA, and everything went through a World Class AME, and I now have a Basic Med completed, I assume I have no worries. (Unless, of course, I somehow pizz off the aforementioned World Class AME.)
     
  27. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not gonna happen :)