SPECIAL ISSUANCE for ANTIDEPRESSANTS

exneophyte

Well-Known Member
Well Doc, thanks to all of your knowledge and advice I think I'm finally going to go for it. It being getting my special issuance medical and then my PPL! I've been looking for a good HIMS AME in the Minneapolis, MN area and am having trouble finding where to find any of them. I found a word document(.doc) called "HIMS Independent Medical Sponsor 4-9-2010.doc" on the FAA site. Is that the list of the doctors I can use to get an antidepressant special issuance? I'm also open to recommendations if you happen to know any of them.
 

Chance

Well-Known Member
Dr. Forred,

Do you know why it is taking so long for the FAA to grant approval to anyone who has applied under the Special Issuance provision for antidepressants? Thanks for your insight.
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
Probably 8 weeks. They go to OKC first and are reviewed for completeness, then they are forwarded to Washington where it will take 4 weeks. Anything short of 8 weeks would surprise me and in may be out to 10-12 weeks, especially since this is one of the first cases they have looked at.
 

fftoto

Well-Known Member
Hey, I received a letter from the FAA about 2-3 months after submitting my applications and packet stating they wanted to make sure I had all my info in on the special issuance. I called my HIMS to make sure they sent it and that all was well. They advised me it was. :insane: Then 2-3 weeks later I received another FAA letter saying I was denied because they had no supplemental information that was required. Further the FAA wanted a follow up with lung function test on my allergic asthma that I have had and reported since I recieved my student pilot license in 95. I called the FAA to see what was up. They told me they never received the SSRI packet at Oklahoma City. They also wanted to make sure I had no side effects from the allergy meds I have been approved for since 95.:cwm27: I talked to my HIMS Dr. and they advised me that the FAA sent out a memo stating the SSRI info was to go to Washington DC and that is where they sent it. So, a few days later after making sure everyone knew where the info was to go, the FAA had the packet. They also had the follow up on the asthma with a spirometer test that was all "normal". I talked to FAA they advised they had all the info. They could not advise at all how long it would take now. Needless to say I am upset my HIMS wasted 3 months by not sending the info to the correct place. :banghead: I could be flying by now but, I guess everything happens for a reason even if we do not know what that reason is. I will post on any future developments. AOPA stated to their knowledge no one has been issued a special issuance on this yet. I guess we will wait to see...

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!:beer:
 

exneophyte

Well-Known Member
Hey, I received a letter from the FAA about 2-3 months after submitting my applications and packet stating they wanted to make sure I had all my info in on the special issuance. I called my HIMS to make sure they sent it and that all was well. They advised me it was. :insane: Then 2-3 weeks later I received another FAA letter saying I was denied because they had no supplemental information that was required. Further the FAA wanted a follow up with lung function test on my allergic asthma that I have had and reported since I recieved my student pilot license in 95. I called the FAA to see what was up. They told me they never received the SSRI packet at Oklahoma City. They also wanted to make sure I had no side effects from the allergy meds I have been approved for since 95.:cwm27: I talked to my HIMS Dr. and they advised me that the FAA sent out a memo stating the SSRI info was to go to Washington DC and that is where they sent it. So, a few days later after making sure everyone knew where the info was to go, the FAA had the packet. They also had the follow up on the asthma with a spirometer test that was all "normal". I talked to FAA they advised they had all the info. They could not advise at all how long it would take now. Needless to say I am upset my HIMS wasted 3 months by not sending the info to the correct place. :banghead: I could be flying by now but, I guess everything happens for a reason even if we do not know what that reason is. I will post on any future developments. AOPA stated to their knowledge no one has been issued a special issuance on this yet. I guess we will wait to see...

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!:beer:
That really sucks. I'm sorry to hear it got held up like that, but since when was working with the FAA easy :) So just to clarify, the SSRI packet was actually supposed to have gone to Oklahoma city, but went to DC instead because of the memo?

Hopefully, your posting it here will prevent others from encountering that issue.
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
It is supposed to go to Oklahoma City where it is reviewed for completeness, then is forwarded to Washington. for review.
 

Chance

Well-Known Member
fftoto,

If the application was sent to D.C. instead of OKC, how did they know to contact you and "make sure I had all my info in on the special issuance." In any event I hope you don't go to the end of the line because if you do be prepared for quite an additional wait. You can call OKC anytime for an update on your application @405 954-4821. They suggested a weekly call for me. Expect a letter from the FAA when it finally gets forwarded to the Federal Air Surgeon in D.C. It took 8 weeks for me. My hope is the renewal process is more streamlined than the initial approval. Good luck and I hope you it all goes well for you.
 

fftoto

Well-Known Member
I guess the application is electronically sent to Ok City, the rest is by snail mail. So Ok City sent the letter stating they did not receive the rest of the info. I did call Ok City and will be keeping up on that as well. Thanks for the heads up. They told me it will take a will they are backed up on all medicals so I am assuming I go to the back of the line. Chance, is your initial still in waiting or have you received Special Issuance approval yet?
 

Chance

Well-Known Member
I do not believe any one has received a Special Issuance for SSRI's yet. Dr. Forred, is this accurate?
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
I have not heard of any yet.

Everything that goes to the FAA is scanned into the AMCS computer so anyone in medical can access it anywhere in the country. It goes to OKC first to insure it is complete because the staff in Washington is small and they don't want to waste their time on incomplete applications.
 

exneophyte

Well-Known Member
Doc, how do you stay so knowledgable? You knowledge amazes me and I wish Phoenix were closer to me.

I reached out to one of the HIMS AME facilities on the list in my area. I indicated that I was interested in using their services for getting my special issuance, but that I had a few quick questions about the process before I scheduled an appointment. My questions were:

* Do you provide any assistance/facilitation for finding where to get the neuro testing? If so, could you provide a general ballpark as the costs associated with this.

The response I got(12 days later) was: "We assist you in facilitating receipt of special issuance, but we are not psychologists/neuropsyc practioners. Our office would not have even a ball park figure for you in terms of cost of special testing/evaluation with the specialists. " - This says to me that they have no clue what the process looks like.

It got me thinking, I'd heard that the special issuance process for antidepressants was similar to the special issuance process for people with a history of abusing alcohol or drugs. Is this true? If so, I would think that any HIMS AME who'd helped with that kind of special issuance, would have a general idea about the process and the costs associated with it. Am I missing something here? Am I asking to much?

I know that the HIMS AME's don't do the neuropsyc evaluations, but I was thinking a good one might be able to recommend where to have them done. Would you concur?
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
Some HIMS AME's do not do very many cases. Remember, aviation medicine is all we do in our office. The other thing is the query may have been answered by one of the office girls who has no clue.

Unfortunately, many physicians do not know the cost of the treatment or tests they order.

Yes, the antidepressant process is similar to HIMS but not as stringent.
 

exneophyte

Well-Known Member
Some HIMS AME's do not do very many cases. Remember, aviation medicine is all we do in our office. The other thing is the query may have been answered by one of the office girls who has no clue.

Unfortunately, many physicians do not know the cost of the treatment or tests they order.

Yes, the antidepressant process is similar to HIMS but not as stringent.
That's a great point about them only doing aviation medicine. This place does everything occupational health related including DOT and ADA exams. Thank you. I'm going to focus my search on the experts of aviation medicine.
 

fftoto

Well-Known Member
So I received another letter from the FAA. AOPA actually gave me a heads up prior to the letters arrival. The FAA now wants the "raw data" from the neuro AE cog screen. I thought the info was sent in originally but the numbers I saw were only the results. So there are about 50 pages to send. I contacted the Dr. that did the test and he sent it off, at another cost to ship it via snail mail. When the letter did come in, the FAA also wants "medical records" from all of my counseling and Dr. visits. In the original package I sent in letters from the counselors and Dr.'s that saw me with the dates of visits. I have no idea what records counselors keep. Do they just want when I visited, do they want what we talked about? Any ideas? I am working with AOPA to try to get answers as to what EXACTLY they want. Man, I am beginning to think it would be better to go under the radar...According to AOPA, NO ONE has been issued a medical certificate on this new protocol. Maybe AOPA will give the yearly plane out to the first pilot to make it through the process!!!
 

fftoto

Well-Known Member
I went back to look at the info provided in the protocol. I missed it but it does state "raw data" on the psych tests. My HIMS missed it as well. Oh well, just another step. Still trying to figure out the medical records info they need.
 

flyer2

New Member
Doc, will the renewal require DC approval or OKC? What do you guess for a timeline on those?

Given that my SSRI application has been in for five months now, If/when I get the SI, should I then start the renewal process?

I am required to hold a 2nd class and get a 1st yearly. If the renewal takes as long as the initial, I will have about a month leeway, depending on when I actually get an SI. I would like to avoid going back on medical leave from work.

I also want people to be aware that if OKC sends your app to DC, it doesn't mean it is approved or even complete, by any means. I have had to submit different items several times as it reaches new desks.
 
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