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Thread: There is a storm a' brewin"...BasicMed under attack

  1. #1
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    There is a storm a' brewin"...BasicMed under attack

    I am attending an FAA AME refresher course today and this weekend and am able to get the skinny on several aspects of aviation medical certification.

    Today I became aware of the strategy that is being used to try to significantly modify, if not eliminate, BasicMed.

    I was made aware that a date has been set, 2-3 years from now, for interested parties (read FAA Medical, Civil Aviation Medical Association (CAMA), etc) to present criticisms and concerns about BasicMed. While I am not privy to the details, I am convinced from the tone of the remarks that the FAA is gathering any data they can to corroborate their feeling that BasicMed is leading to safety issues for our nation. Specifically, it was mentioned that every Wednesday there is some sort of a meeting (Grand Rounds, in medical terminology) of the FAA folks to discuss accidents that have occurred weekly that are attributed to pilots flying under BasicMed or FAA certification.

    Folks, this makes me really nervous. I am pretty sure that Mark Baker and AOPA will also be preparing for this, but have not verified this with him...intend to do so. It is also my feeling that those who oppose BasicMed are quite happy that the language of BasicMed allows chiropractors to perform BasicMed examinations in states where chiropractors are licensed as "physicians". One of the things I get out of these refresher courses is the complexity of medicine as it applies to aviation medicine. Personally, I feel challenged to remain competent to perform aviation medical examinations, be that FAA or BasicMed, and I cannot fathom a chiropractor doing so.

    Please stay tuned, remain vigilant and support AOPA. I promise to keep you apprised of developments as I learn of them.

    One of the things I have taken from the course so far is that I need to not remain outside of the "AMA" of medical examiners, CAMA. While I don't like their policies, and their stance on BasicMed, it is my feeling that one way to keep my finger on the pulse of what they are doing is to become a member. While it pains me greatly to consider joining, I think I will need to in order to know what CAMA is up to.

    That's all for now.

    Randy
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  2. #2
    n40ff's Avatar
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    Randy,

    While I'm flying LSA and may soon even quit flying all together I sincerely appreciate your efforts. If the cost of joining CAMA is a factor I'd be willing to help and I suspect others will too?

    Warm regards,

    Jack
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    FdxLou's Avatar
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    RandyBob
    Me thinks we should start a Go Fund Me to raise money for you to join CAMA or whatever you need to stay relevant.
    Lou
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  4. #4
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Thanks, boys, but shoot, all I need to do are a few unnecessary BasicMed examinations and I'll have it covered in no time!



    Randy
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WindOnHisNose View Post
    ... It is also my feeling that those who oppose BasicMed are quite happy that the language of BasicMed allows chiropractors to perform BasicMed examinations in states where chiropractors are licensed as "physicians". One of the things I get out of these refresher courses is the complexity of medicine as it applies to aviation medicine. Personally, I feel challenged to remain competent to perform aviation medical examinations, be that FAA or BasicMed, and I cannot fathom a chiropractor doing so.

    That's all for now.

    Randy
    If the opposition of the Basic Med is coming from those who dislike chiropractors being able to perform the exams, why punish the pilots who can only fly because of the availability of the Basic Med?

    It would be more appropriate to remove the authority to test from the chiropractors or to require the chiropractors to take some sort of medical test.

    This sounds a lot like the anti-gun crowd taking away the guns from the law abiding in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

    It is my opinion that the Basic Med is the best improvement in flying medicals since sliced bread for recreational flyers. I am certain that it is helping many from becoming FAA violators. The aviation industry needs all the help it can get. Remember the years when Cessna used to build over 17,000 airplanes per year? 172s didn't cost north of $300,000 then.
    N1PA
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    This is a big test of AOPA. I hope they’re up to the task.

    What does the opposition allege? I read a lot of accident reports and can’t think of any off the top of my head that have to do with a pilot medical problem. The exception is elderly pilots who die in crashes, followed by a general suspicion that a medical event happened. Even there, I can’t think of an example in which there is any real evidence. I do remember that one of the Airport movies involved a guy having a heart attack and crashing his Cherokee into the windshield of an airliner!

    In order for a Class 3 Medical to have any value, there must be some malady that 1) doesn’t have symptoms, 2) would be missed on a BasicMed exam, 3) would be discovered on a Class 3 exam, and 4) presents a hazard to flight. Approaching it with an open mind, I can’t think of a single example.

    I realize I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. . . .

  7. #7
    daedgerton's Avatar
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    My guess is that the "accidents" people are having don't matter whether you have Basic Med or not... My dad just ground looped our 12 and it was deemed an "accident"... It would have happened either way if he continued to maintain his Class 3 or a Basic Med...

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Randy, thanks for this update! Being proactive is important. It is quite possible for third party to collect the information on accidents as well and make sure the interpretation of the data is sound.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Right on, SJ.

    I fully intend to question Mark Baker as to the efforts AOPA are undertaking to keep track of any correlation between aircraft accidents (fatal or not) and type of medical and CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT. This will be somewhat of a tedious exercise, but one that is critical to survival of BasicMed as we now know it.

    Randy
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    SJ's Avatar
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    Some interesting data: https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...y-Medical-Type

    (I decided the data post was best put in the medical matters area)

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  11. #11
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    I totally agree with this move, SJ. I started the thread in Cafe SuperCub only to alert many pilots. I will be posting details in Medical Matters.

    Thank you!

    Randy

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    The FAA doesn't administer BasicMed. We have that going for us at least.
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  13. #13
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Please go to Medical Matters to view the presentation made today at the FAA AME Refresher in Denver.

    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...y-Medical-Type

    It is important for us to stay on top of this, folks. Stay tuned.

    Randy

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    Is anyone surprised that a group of professionals at a conference for their industry will self-affirm their importance?
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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Stewart, I understand and appreciate your point. Having said that I am quite disappointed in watching a group of intelligent, scientifically-sophisticated professionals who are supposed to be able to look at the medical literature and have some sort of discrimination to sort the wheat from the chaff. I know that i must keep my guard up when I see new medications in my area of medicine and to seriously question the pharmaceutical representatives who tout their product based upon "good studies". The studies, while they may pass peer review, are often quite flawed and the authors often qualify their findings with some introspective statements. The FAA policy makers, much to my dismay, resemble pharmaceutical sales people when they draw their obviously biased opinions...and we AME's sit there and nod our heads in agreement. Really disappointing.

    Enough rambling...

    Randy
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    Even a bad football team is cocky in the team meeting. Human nature.

    I do appreciate you running point.

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    What's the trucking industry going to do if chiropractors are declared incompetent to do physicals? Seems like with a little training, anybody can hear a heart beat problem. I asked the nurse if I was my AME's first Basic Med and she said I was. One other guy wanted one but was turned down because my AME must have known he was iffy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 180Marty View Post
    One other guy wanted one but was turned down because my AME must have known he was iffy.

    An impetus behind Basicmed originally was that "the doc that knows the patient has the best idea of whether he's medically fit to fly"....so, maybe that doc was doing the right thing....
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  19. #19
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Remember that the FAA cannot change or abolish Basic Med. Only Congress.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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    For consideration. Baby Boomers are getting old. The average age of pilots in America is older than ever and that's not going to change in most of our lifetimes since many if not most of us are boomers. How do we manage the loss of reflexes and cognitive ability that comes differently to every individual with age? It's a discussion every pilot needs to have with himself. Prior to BasicMed being finalized when the driver license medical was being pushed I had an honest discussion with my AME about the DL medical idea. He was opposed. He said there's a problem in America where we allow driver licenses to be retained by some aging folks when they aren't competent to drive, so he couldn't support them flying. Usually to take those licenses relies on family to intervene. He made a few examples and I accepted his position as valid. BasicMed closed that loophole for piloting. And now that AME is a big advocate of BasicMed and offers FAA and BasicMed exams. With any interpretation of the BasicMed data the numbers will be heavily skewed to include older pilots. It offers the path of least resistance and the older I get, the better that sounds. My physicians know me, know my health, and they've stated they'll stand in my way when they believe I'm not worthy to fly. I appreciate that. They aren't the enemy. Conversely the FAA is not my protector. The way the BM system is set up is generally very good for guys that walk between the lines. Is there potential to cheat? Sure, but there has always been potential to cheat the Class system, too, and many of us have known guys to do it. Statistics don't lie. If the average age of a pilot goes up the average age of an accident pilot will follow. It's a simple correlation. Do the math, guys. The presumption that the accident numbers would be any better for those same old dudes with 3rd Class cards is a good story for CNN but is unsubstantiated. But that's what we as a nation have come to. In the absence of information make up a story. Somebody will believe it.

    My BasicMed exam was equally or more thorough than any 3rd class exam I ever had. Perhaps because I saw a health care practitioner instead of a government accredited condition screener. I don't mean that to be insulting. It is what it is. The funny thing is my BasicMed exam came from the same guy who'd done my last several 3rd class exams and who helped me maintain my SI. This time we actually talked about health maintenance, diet, getting older, etc. I'll testify that BasicMed is a better health tool than the FAA medicals.

    My three cents.
    Last edited by stewartb; 09-22-2019 at 10:45 AM.
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    I still think medical incapacitation is a lot more deadly on the freeway than in the pattern.

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    I think Stewart's point is important and should be part of the big narrative.

    I just had my first Basic Med exam a few weeks ago. My doctor, an internist, had never heard of it. I sent him the forms and information, he scheduled an appointment. This was going to be part of my standard general health check.

    He ordered blood panels. He spent quite a bit of time examining me--the whole standard gamut including prostate. We talked over health concerns, stress concerns (he knows our local circumstances because he is the jail doctor, too). Finally he filled out the Basic Health questionnaire.

    But the focus was on my health, not on getting me a piece of paper. Happily, he pronounced me fit, but he said I needed to go fishing more...

    I'm pretty sure most doctors are similar. They aren't trying to game the system, not particularly influenced by bureaucrats. Their focus is on what they are called to do: help people stay healthy. That's a good thing.
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    aktango58's Avatar
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    I must submit that there have been a few high profile medical issues with pilots- including heart attacks, in the cockpit.

    As you may recall, these have been from those holding a Class 1 medical, required to be updated every 6 months, and after 50 years of age, an EKG every year.

    Remind me how these medicals are supposed to save all of us?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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    basic med under attack

    Randy, you don't have to be a professional anything to size up what's going at a meeting----within 15 minutes, if there are side games. I follow Sun Tzu's advice of thousands of years ago: "Know your enemy." Complacency is a killer.

  25. #25
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    Pilots have been gaming the aviation medical program for decades. Maybe not a lot, but they’re out there. So, frankly, the system has always relied on the honesty of its participants. I recall a commercial pilot, on a scheduled flight, passed out in a diabetic coma. He’d been a type one diabetic since childhood, and had failed to mention it to AMEs for years.

    He held a valid medical at the time, can’t recall whether it was first or second, but that doesn’t matter.

    The FAA should embrace Basic Med.......if nothing else, it actually encourages pilots to seek good medical care.

    MTV
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    I haven't flown much this last year as my dog's been in need of expensive meds and couldn't go and do. I'm legal Sport Pilot no major health issues with current BFR, driver's license, and my Taylorcraft's out of annual...I grounded myself as all of it wasn't 100% of what I expected. Dog's better and now it's time to get the plane and me airworthy and go back into flying. That's what it takes when we're not all there for whatever reasons.

    Gary
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  27. #27
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Brown View Post
    Randy, you don't have to be a professional anything to size up what's going at a meeting----within 15 minutes, if there are side games. I follow Sun Tzu's advice of thousands of years ago: "Know your enemy." Complacency is a killer.
    I totally agree. Thank you.

    While I understand that it is not my choice to feel the need to consider the FAA as an "enemy", I do feel that we may be at odds over interpretation of the BasicMed. There are many really good people in the FAA. There are also some concepts which we may need to agree to disagree with them on some points.

    Randy

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