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Is Telemedicine Appropriate for You?
On July 15, 2020, the Federal Air Surgeon’s office issued a directive from former FAS Dr. Berry that allows telemedicine appointments for first-time FAA psychiatric evaluations. In March 2020, Dr. Berry allowed telemedicine appointments for follow up visits, after at least one in-person visit. Before March, all visits with a HIMS psychiatrist had to occur in a doctor’s office.
On April 14, 2021, HIMS psychiatrists received instruction from the FAA’s Chief of Psychiatry and Assistant Chief of Psychiatry about the best use of telemedicine. With the wide availability of vaccines, the FAA’s psychiatrists no longer believe that a virtual appointment is an acceptable method for the first assessment of a First Class certificate holder or applicant.
Virtual follow-up appointments were not addressed at the same depth, but the trend has been among the conference attendees to discourage virtual appointments. My interpretation is that a follow up visit for a current First Class certificate holder should be considered on a case-by-case basis.