FAA medical application: Visits to health professionals

Over the years I have had many questions about Question 19, "Visits to Health Professional Within Last 3 Years," on the FAA medical application, specifically regarding what information to input and how.

You are asked to insert all visits to health professionals within the past three years. Notice the date requirement requests only the month and the year! I tell my airmen that if you have forgotten the exact month use January. The form asks for the physician’s address, but you will not be rejected you if you do not insert that.

It does request the type of health professional, and you should insert that.

It then requests the reason for the visit. This is probably the most important block in that section that the FAA is interested in. You should be as specific as possible in the space allotted. Do not be vague.  

One of the common problems is with skin cancers. Do not just put “remove skin cancer.” This will surely lead to a request for more information from the FAA! Be specific as to what kind of skin cancer. For example, a basal cell skin cancer is associated with sun exposure and in general is cured by surgical removal. A malignant melanoma is one of the most serious of skin cancers and can spread to the brain. Thus this is the reason for being specific. 

A very common question is, "What if I see a physician many times, how should I list those?" I tell my airmen that as long as the visit is for the same medical problem, you can just list it once. Use the date of the most recent visit and in the “reason for visit” section, write, "multiple visits for blood pressure treatment” or "multiple visits for prostate cancer treatment," etc.   

I am also asked how the FAA defines "health professionals." If you click on the question mark icon next to the item on the MedXPress application, you will see the instructional guidance for that question. There is a short list of health professionals that includes “physicians, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, psychologist, clinical social worker, or substance abuse specialist for treatment, examination, or medical/mental evaluation.” However, the guidance also states that other consultations with an employee assistance program for some mental health issues may be excluded unless they pertain to psychiatric treatment or substance abuse. 

It is then the burden of your aviation medical examiner to question you and obtain more information, though the FAA will send you the request for more documentation if they are not happy with your response. 

Topics: Pilot Protection Services, AOPA Products and Services

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