As we continue with the early stages of BasicMed, I will share with you a few of the questions we are addressing as we go along.
Recall that there are eleven medical conditions in three categories that require a one-time special issuance to qualify to operate under BasicMed. A frequent question regards atrial fibrillation and if that is considered “coronary heart disease that has required treatment.” From an aeromedical standpoint, AFIB is a rhythm disturbance rather than a blood vessel issue, and is not normally considered coronary heart disease in the regulatory environment, and would therefore not require a special issuance before flying under BasicMed. For normal Part 67 medical certification operations, it is handled as a time limited special issuance with annual reporting requirements, but if you are appropriately treated and well controlled, you are eligible to operate under BasicMed.
Another interesting “unintended consequence” of the FAA’ Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist is the inclusion of certain items -“vision” is one example- that require a check-off by the examining doctor. Keep in mind that the medical exam checklist was required by law to be created using questions directly from the existing online airman medical application, and vision is part of the regular medical examination on that form.
A valid state driver’s license is required to fly under BasicMed, so if you have any restrictions on your DL for corrective lenses or no night driving, for example, those become an appropriate guideline for meeting the vision item for BasicMed. Some doctors now doing BasicMed exams do not have the equipment to do an eye exam that addresses vision items such as the distant and near vision, color vision, and visual fields. It’s a good idea to have a routine screening eye exam periodically, and if you have had that done prior to your BasicMed exam, having a report from your eye care specialist indicating your visual acuity should suffice if your examining doctor would like to review that information before completing your medical exam checklist.
Just as with a regular FAA medical application, if you are reporting a medical condition or treatment on the exam form that might be questioned by the doctor doing the exam, it is helpful to have a report from your treating physician to explain the situation so the doctor performing the BasicMed exam and completing your checklist has an understanding about your condition and how it is being addressed. Under BasicMed, the physician is required to exercise medical discretion to determine whether any medical tests are warranted as part of the BasicMed medical examination, and having a report from your treating physician may prevent unnecessary testing or not being signed off by the examining physician.