May 1st, 2017, BasicMed rolls out and for certain operations and certain pilots BasicMed promises a much more permissive and yet preventive oriented approach to medical approvals for pilots.
A concern is that one's physician may not issue BasicMed.
From AAFP's newsletter, where BasicMed was overviewed for Academy members (mostly Family Practice Physicians), I have extracted the following excerpts.
In an interview with AAFP News, Cowl stressed that physicians should understand FAA medical guidelines as they pertain to potential liability.
"There is the potential for liability to physicians, in part because the pilots most likely to use the alternative qualification pathway may be the very people who need the standard flight physical," said Cowl.
"At that altitude and type of airframe, these planes are sharing the airspace with paying commercial passengers. As physicians, we need to maximize the health of our patients and promote aviation safety," he said.
Simply put, "This comprehensive medical checklist is not a summer camp physical," said Cowl. Physicians should familiarize themselves with FAA guidelines, communicate with aviation medical examiners in their communities and understand the liability they take on when they put their medical license number on the FAA form.
Cowl acknowledged that some family physicians may already perform commercial truck and bus driver examinations that are similar in nature to pilot exams. For those physicians, a certain comfort level may already exist.
However, he added, "Physicians who do these exams need to be cognizant of the 'ask' -- and that is to perform a comprehensive exam and then sign an attestation statement that says, 'Based on my comprehensive exam, this person is safe to fly.'"
So I asked my non-pilot family practice doc whether he would be doing BasicMed exams. "Absolutely not. Truck drivers are one thing, but flying planes and the liability potential is too great for me to stomach."
I asked another FP doc, and she told me that she would avoid doing the exams, because as she understands them, they require a comprehensive physical that has higher complexity than other physicals she performs, and along with it there is an unknown liability potential, which is new to the risk market and she doesn't like being a guinea pig.
Then I talked with a former student of mine, who is an emergency medicine attending, and holds a Private Airplane-Instrument certificate. He has been tracking BasicMed, because it is relevant to him. He hauls his family around at vacation time in his Saratoga, and BasicMed meets his requirements. "Honestly, I will just see (my AME) and get a regular third class medical. I don't know anyone who wants to touch BasicMed if they are in private practice. If you get someone working for a hospital clinic, it might be different."
So my question is: Is there any preliminary data on the willingness of physicians to perform BasicMed exams, and in particular those who are not AMEs or pilots?
An update article, after the start of BasicMed.