The New Aeromedical Certification Subsystem

Editorial, by Jon L. Jordan, MD, JD

The policy statement implementing the new Aeromedical Certification Subsystem (AMCS) is printed here to provide you, a member of the Aviation Medical Examiner community, with important information on the planned phase-in and use of the new system. The AMCS, initially implemented on a voluntary basis, begins October 1, 1992.

The AMCS has been designed to modernize the Office of Aerospace Medicine's medical certification process. The AMCS will allow for direct electronic communications between AMEs and the Aeromedical Certification Division in Oklahoma City, and will assure that all data transmitted by an AME can be validated for both completeness and medical accuracy (according to FAR Part 67 medical standards).

I believe that the high level of commitment members of the AME community have shown to date, combined with a carefully planned implementation, is a strong indication that the new Aeromedical Certification Subsystem will be a success.

AMCS Policy Statement
The Aeromedical Certification Subsystem (AMCS) was developed because the Aeromedical Certification Division has been hampered in the performance of the certification mission by receipt of inaccurate, incomplete, or untimely information upon which to base certification decisions.

One of the key features of the AMCS is the capacity for validating airman medical data before it is transmitted to the Aeromedical Certification Division (AMCD). This function enables you to validate the data before a medical certificate is issued to the airman. Validation before certification is a critical factor in reducing the risk of providing a medically unqualified airman with a valid medical certificate. The Federal Aviation Administration therefore recommends that the data be validated by the AMCS before an airman is issued a medical certificate. This recommendation could be incorporated into your office procedures by having either you or a staff person enter the FAA Form 8500-8 (Application for Medical Certification) information into the AMCS before the airman leaves your office. Office personnel can enter the data from the front half of the 8500-8 as you are performing the examination. The back half of the 8500-8 can then be entered, the data validated, and, if all items are correct, the certificate issued. You do not need to transmit the exam at the time it is validated.

Exams may be transmitted at a later time. Exams may also be automatically transmitted at specified times when phone rates are lower. However, I reiterate that during the initial voluntary phase, it will not be mandatory to validate the data before issuing the medical certificate, although it is recommended you do so.

The AMCS software will be distributed free of charge to you when you become an AMCS user, along with a Getting Started Guide, Tutorials, and a detailed User's Manual. The recommended minimum hardware and operating system software needed to operate AMCS is already available in many AMEs' offices. However, if you do not have the hardware, a PC system can be purchased for approximately $1400. (Recommended hardware and software configurations, along with additional information regarding the AMCS, will be mailed to all AMEs within the next month.) They may also be obtained by writing your regional medical office. Telephone connect costs to the Oklahoma City AMCS Host computer will be borne by the AME.

Each AME will be expected to keep the original, airman-signed front and the AME-signed back (work-copy) of the FAA Form 8500-8, for a period of three years. If an exam is transmitted to AMCD, the hard-copy should not be mailed. On the other hand, exams with numerous attachments, such as special issuances, some deferrals/denials, or cardiovascular/blood pressure cases, should continue to be mailed and need not be entered into AMCS.

The Office of Aerospace Medicine will provide technical support to all Aviation Medical Examiners using AMCS. Regional contact persons will be designated to answer both procedural and operational questions. Mechanisms for promoting peer support and for sharing ideas and experiences are currently being evaluated. A Hotline Support Facility for the AMCS is currently being established. The support staff, in place October 1, 1992, will answer most of your questions regarding hardware/software, technical matters, etc. They are also available to work with you to resolve any problems regarding the setup and operation of the AMCS. The telephone number for the Hotline Staff is (405) 954-3238.

Approximately 400 AMEs have volunteered to be among the first to use AMCS. If you want to volunteer to be a part of AMCS, please write or call:

Leslie Downey, AAM-330, Aeromedical Certification Division
FAA/Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
PO Box 26080, Oklahoma City, OK 73126
Phone: (405) 954-7657

JLJ