BasicMed update

Since the FAA announced the final rule for BasicMed in January, AOPA has received a steady stream of questions from members about the new regulations that become effective May 1. Although the questions are grouped into some broad categories, I want to zero in on one area that is generating questions.

The legislation passed last July as the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 and specified certain medical conditions that would require a one-time special issuance granted by the FAA before a pilot could exercise BasicMed privileges. Those conditions are grouped into three medical areas: cardiovascular, neurological, and mental health.

The mental health conditions that require a special issuance include an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of personality disorder manifested by repeated overt acts, psychosis, bipolar disorder, or substance dependence within the previous two years.

For neurological disorders, the conditions are limited to an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy, disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause, or transient loss of control of nervous system function without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause (includes stroke and transient ischemic attack).

Individuals with a clinically diagnosed mental health or neurological condition will be required to certify every two years, upon completion of the online medical education course, that they are under the care of a state-licensed medical specialist for that mental health or neurological condition. If the state-license medical specialist determines the condition renders the individual unable to safely perform the duties of a pilot under BasicMed, the pilot will not be allowed to fly under the new rules. Pilots also will not be qualified under the new rules if their driver’s license is revoked because of a clinically diagnosed mental health or neurological condition.

The cardiovascular conditions include myocardial infarction (heart attack), coronary heart disease that has required treatment, cardiac valve replacement, or heart replacement.

If you have or have held a special issuance for any other medical condition, and you otherwise meet the requirements for BasicMed, you will not need to renew that special issuance to fly under the new regulations. 

And if you continue to periodically see your treating doctor for the condition that resulted in the special issuance requirement, continue to do that as before, but if your doctor was ordering testing only because it was required to maintain your special issuance, you may no longer need to have the testing done. Check with your doctor on that just to be certain, but pilots who are in this situation and who may pay out of pocket for say, an annual stress test and a Holter monitor, stand to be the biggest winners under BasicMed because of the financial savings! More money for avgas or avionics upgrades!

We are still in the early stages of BasicMed and the rules are not effective until May 1st, so if you have a question about your own situation, give us a call (800.872.2672) or check out the BasicMed resources online.  

Portrait of Gary Crump, AOPA's director of medical certification with a Cessna 182 Skylane at the National Aviation Community Center.
Frederick, MD USA

Gary Crump

Gary is the Director of AOPA’s Pilot Information Center Medical Certification Section and has spent the last 32 years assisting AOPA members. He is also a former Operating Room Technician, Professional Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician, and has been a pilot since 1973.
Topics: Pilot Protection Services

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