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News > Moving? Family member medical clearance may be critical
Moving? Family member medical clearance may be critical

Posted 6/17/2009   Updated 6/17/2009 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Brandon Bennett
437th Medical Group

6/17/2009 - CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C.  -- Getting notified of a new assignment sets in motion a multitude of required steps and tasks.

Each of these steps and tasks must be managed and accomplished to obtain orders and solidify plans while moving family across the country or even across the world. At least one of these steps involves the medical community. For active-duty Airmen, their medical clearance to proceed on their permanent change of station is already set in motion. If an Airman is considered worldwide qualified, meaning they have no profile or duty limitations that constraining where they go, then they're set.

Family members, however, may be another issue. Medical clearances for family members become significant in two particular instances: when a family is intending to travel overseas, to include Alaska and Hawaii, or when a family member has a chronic medical condition needing enrollment in the Special Needs Identification and Assignment Coordination program, also known as Special Needs. In the case of Special Needs, a clearance must be accomplished for the particular family member enrolled even if the assignment is within the continental United States.

It is important to know this information for two basic reasons. For one, medical or other specialty services may be limited at a projected location. This has the potential to create significant hardships for the family involved and may hinder Air Force capability to coordinate positions and move members. A second reason is clearances must be done before orders can be issued. Not having orders can obviously impact other plans and activities, such as the scheduling of household goods movement.

The key to these clearances is that, in normal circumstances, earlier is better. Placing the family member medical clearance as an early priority may save a great deal of frustration throughout an Airmen's processing. If an Airman is an active-duty member and get notified of a pending PCS, they should stop by the TRICARE office at the 437th Medical Group to speak with Senior Airman Claudio Collazo. He will provide a face-to-face briefing with you on the necessary paperwork and procedures to get the medical clearance underway. In order to contact the TRICARE office by phone, please call 963-6704 to check his availability. If you have a family member who is already enrolled in the Special Needs program, please speak with Staff Sgt. Lisa Thomas at 963-6615 or Senior Airman Brooke Bennett at 963-6863 to ensure their Special Needs case file is up to date and accurate. However, even with Special Needs, the clearance process itself will still be initiated through Airman Collazo.

For questions regarding the family member medical clearance process for a PCS, please don't hesitate to contact the numbers provided. Other great resources for information regarding this process include: The Outbound Assignments section of the Military Personnel Flight and Primary Care Managers and their medical staff at 437 MDG. For Airmen expecting to PCS in the not so distant future, we look forward to serving you.

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