November 3, 2009
Few things are more important to a pilot than his or her medical certificate. That’s why AOPA created the Medical Services Program, which launched Nov. 5 at AOPA Aviation Summit. The plan is part of a redoubled focus on health issues, which includes the first-ever Health Pavilion, also at Summit.
“AOPA members have access to some of the best online information available,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller, “from AOPA’s TurboMedical, which helps them prepare for their medical exam, to the online database of medications allowed and not allowed by the FAA. And any member who has come up against a medical certification issue with the FAA’s Aerospace Medical Certification Division knows the true value of AOPA’s medical certification staff.
“Now we’ve created a Medical Services Program that expands AOPA’s medical offerings and allows members to choose the level of support they need.”
All AOPA members, whether they choose to participate in the Medical Services Program or not, will continue to have access to AOPA’s extensive online medical resources. The program itself has two levels.
Members enrolled in the Essential Program will receive support from and consultation with AOPA’s Medical Certification Specialists to track their medical certification application through the FAA; access to WorldDoc, an online health management and information system; access to Microsoft HealthVault, a secure online medical record storage service; a bi-monthly, pilot-focused medical newsletter from AOPA’s Medical Certification staff; and a free prescription drug discount program.
Offering all of the benefits of the Essential Program, the Comprehensive program also allows medical records to be reviewed by the AOPA Medical Certification staff, and if necessary, AOPA intervention on behalf of the member with the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division.
WorldDoc—a leading provider of consumer care management systems—enables individuals to become active and informed participants in their healthcare, helping them to make better healthcare decisions, leading to both improved health and decreased healthcare costs. WorldDoc includes a pharmacy locator that can identify the pharmacies with the lowest medication prices, which, when coupled with the prescription drug discount, could lead to significant savings.
Microsoft HealthVault is the ultimate in health record portability. Medical Services Program participants have the option to enter their medical records into the HealthVault secure server, which makes them instantly accessible to medical professionals in the event of an emergency. It also means that if a participant moves, his or her new doctor will have access to all of the information.
Both WorldDoc and HealthVault are HIPAA compliant.
Because staying healthy is critical to a pilot’s ability to maintain a medical certificate, Medical Services Program participants will receive a bi-monthly electronic newsletter that will include advice on healthy living, case studies, updates on changes and proposed changes to medical certification regulations, and other helpful tips.
The program also includes a free prescription drug discount. Offered through a partnership with MedImpact, one of the largest pharmacy benefits management companies in the United States, the AOPA Medical Services Program prescription drug discount card will save participants up to 60 percent on the normal cost of medications at 48,000 pharmacies nationwide. It may be of special value to those whose insurance plans do not include a prescription drug benefit, who may be underinsured, or who may be nearing the maximum limit of their Health Savings Account. The participant’s entire family can take advantage of the discount, meaning elderly parents or children who have become too old to be covered as a dependent under the participant’s insurance plan can also take advantage of the savings.
AOPA’s Essential Medical Services Program costs just $37, while the Comprehensive Program is offered for $99. Other aeromedical certification services can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars more.
“Our new Medical Services Program allows AOPA to continue to offer members aeromedical certification assistance that is second to none,” concluded Fuller. “And it allows members to choose just the services they need.”
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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