Medical Reporting And Your Responsibilities

  • Published
  • By Col. Brett V. Fehrle
  • 117th Medical Group

What are your responsibilities as an Air National Guard member when it comes to medical reporting?

Throughout my career in the Air Force, many Air Guard members frequently ask the same question. “What are my responsibilities, as a member, to provide medical information?” “When and how often?”

There are many aspects to those questions, for example, a change in medical status or a change in prescriptions. Also, the U.S. Air Force has changed some requirements, so be aware the changes could affect your career.

First and foremost as an ANG member, you are doing your unit and yourself an injustice by not reporting a change in medical status. Per Air Force Instruction 48-123, paragraph 10.4.2., “the member is responsible for promptly (within 72 hours) reporting an illness, injury, disease, operative procedure or hospitalization not previously reported to his or her commander or supervisor, and supporting medical facility personnel. IAW AFI 36-2910, any concealment (i.e. not reporting), or claim of disability made with the intent to defraud the government, could result in possible legal action and possible discharge from the ARC (Air Reserve Components).” Your commander could charge you under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or the Alabama Code of Military Justice if they want to pursue non-compliance. Documentation on any subsequent follow-ups and/or treatment for your condition should be provided to the 117th Medical Group to ensure you remain compliant with the AFI’s, your individual readiness, the safety of yourself, your fellow Airmen and the mission.

If you are taking a prescription, whether you’re a flyer or not, you could potentially put your fellow crew members at risk of injury or death by not letting our flight surgeons/physicians know of the change in your prescriptions.  

1. For flyers, the 117 MDG, Aerospace Medicine, Flight Surgeons, must be involved to verify that what you are taking does not potentially jeopardize yourself, your crew, the aircraft and mission. This may result in being taken off of flight status for a short time. However, the long-term risks could be extremely high for not getting an evaluation by a doctor. If an accident were to occur and a safety board discovered that you’re on a non-approved prescription during their investigation, you could potentially be facing UCMJ charges. 

2. Same goes for non-flyers. If a mishap were to occur and you are on an unreported substance, you too could be facing administrative consequences. The regulations require you to report a change in medical status/prescriptions to the MDG, so the doctors can apply, if needed, appropriate duty restrictions for your Air Force Specialty Code.

As another example, the MDG, per current AFI’s used to allow ANG members to provide prescriptions, after the fact, in the event of a positive drug screen. But, under new “pending” guidance, this will no longer be allowed. All prescriptions must be in your medical record, prior to the drug screen or you will be faced with answering directly to your commander on potential UCMJ violations and discharge.  

As you can see, there are many responsibilities as an ANG member in respect to keeping your medical record up to date.