Written by Cmdr. Shane Steiner
Chief of Preventative Medicine
U.S. Coast Guard / U.S. Public Health Service
On Mar. 1, 2018, the Coast Guard implemented a new periodic health assessment (PHA). To increase flexibility, Coast Guard members were no longer required to have their PHA completed during their birth month as long as they had a PHA at least every 12 months. Since March, only 43 percent of Coast Guard personnel have completed a PHA when given the opportunity to schedule their own date.
With the emphasis on readiness and after reviewing data with leadership, PHAs will once again be required during the birth month of the member as of Jan. 1, 2019. Under the new policy, some Coast Guard personnel might have to complete a PHA twice in a 12-month period as the Coast Guard transitions back to the birth month PHA policy.
Units that have at least 30 Coast Guard reservists and units that use Tricare Prime Remote can request an exemption from the birth month PHA policy. Instead, such units can request to have an annual Reserve Health Readiness Program (RHRP) group event to batch PHAs at the unit level for reserve and Tricare Prime Remote personnel.
During group events, a RHRP contractor comes to the unit and does all medical readiness services in one visit, including PHAs. Units wanting to use this option have until Feb. 28, 2019, to notify the PHA coordinator at the Health, Safety, and Work-Life Service Center. After Feb. 28, all units that have not asked to use a group event will be held to the birth month PHA policy for the remainder of calendar year 2019.
As a reminder, all Coast Guard personnel (including those seen at Coast Guard or Department of Defense clinics) requiring a PHA can use the RHRP to complete PHAs from now until Mar. 1, 2019. Members who are seen at Coast Guard clinics who want to try this option should contact their local Coast Guard clinic. Members who are seen at DoD clinics should contact their servicing regional health services technician. A list of regional HSs can be found here.
Coast Guard Business Intelligence (CGBI) will be updated in early 2019 to send automatic PHA reminders as well as reminders about other medical readiness requirements via email.
Finally, if Coast Guard members who use the RHRP for medical readiness are scheduled for a medical readiness procedure they think is unnecessary or inappropriate, members have the right to contact the HS who ordered the service for clarification.