HIMS testing
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Hi there! This is my first time using this venue to try to gather some information. Any insight anybody has would be helpful. I am a 43 year old man who has been trying to make a career switch into commercial aviation since I was 39. The hold up has been in trying to obtain the first class medical certificate. I've enrolled in ATP and am rearing to go, but for this.
I was treated for alcohol misuse at an in-patient facility in 2008. I have no DUI's or criminal history and my submission to treatment was voluntary. The FAA required me to  submit 14 random tests in 12 months. At the suggestion (and in the interest of time) of an AOPA nurse I appealed the decision to the chief psychiatrist in Washington. After 6 months they sent me a letter asking for a psychiatric evaluation to be conducted by a HIMS AME. We conducted the evaluation which involved 9 random PeTH alcohol tests in 6 months along with other documentation. We submitted the package in December of 2018 and when the FAA responded the following March they asked for......14 random tests in a 12 month period...
 We initiated the process that same month and, a year later, successfully submitted another package with 14 additional clean alcohol tests. The FAA also asked for a psychiatric and neuropsychological assessment, personal letters, 90/90 documentation, etc. All of this information has been submitted to the FAA and we are presently awaiting the outcome of their decision. The question I have is, assuming I will be granted an SI, how much additional random testing should I expect? Will I ever be released from random testing? Also, I haven't had physical by my AME in longer than 6 months so would I receive an authorization letter pending the physical? Please help! This has been going on for nearly 4 years!
3 Replies
Votes
Nope. went to rehab and that means you had the diagnosis of alcohol dependency. You have the SI for Alcohol dependence. As of Jan 31 even when you get released from that initial SI, one you will get  a stepdown - you will still have to see a HIMS AME, every 6 months, to be re-issued and he/she  will be responsible for followup surveillance and a reduce level of random testing.

Just like for CAD, Alcohol dependency is something you have to cope with forever.

This was adopted January 31.  NTSB had been BEATING on FAA medical  for years and they finally got their priority item.  I was there when it was Announced March 11.   It was NOT recieved well by the HIMS peer (recovered) group.  But that is how it is.
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That is understandable and I will have to comply if necessary. The question I have, though, is why is it that the testing consortium is asking whether I have been issued a release letter? After I fulfilled (what I thought was my obligation) of the 14 in 12 I believed that was the only testing I needed to have. When I was told to test for the 15th and, just this past week, 16th time they asked me again where my release letter was. 

Also, what does reduced testing look like in terms of frequency?
Votes
You are not communicating with your HIMS AME. He is after all responsible for you continuing to operate after a diagnosis of alcohol dependency.  Prior to 1983 you would have been exiled from the industry...but you know that. The disease is forever and most will be left to run their own program(s) with at least a recovery history + a test or two.

But I gotta tell you I have two guys I’m not easing off of, because one still challenges if he’s alcoholic (how can you deal with a problem you refuse to name)! The other I’m convinced is just a square filler. With good surveillance neither is a danger at present.  I’m not willing to take a chance on the on behalf of the 147 pax in the back.

But I have a lotta guys who “get it solid” and they will go to two CDTs per 6 months....And a call to the spouse.

Talk to your HIMS AME.  The medical officers discuss, “What do you think you need” and I tell ‘em. And the the letter arrives with the list specified.