House Committee Issues 'Medical Fraud' Report
March 29, 2007 — Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, released a report this week calling on the FAA to further efforts to identify and deal with pilots who provide fraudulent information to obtain their airman medical certificates. The report stems from a 2005 study by the DOT Inspector General in which thousands of certificated airmen were identified as receiving Social Security benefits, some for medically disabling conditions that would void their medicals. The report states that while the U.S. Attorney?s Office ultimately prosecuted more than 40 cases, hundreds more could have been pursued if resources had not been constrained.
The report urges the FAA to run periodic spot-checks of pilots? medical information and follow through with ?swift and meaningful consequences if falsifications are found.?
While EAA condemns any pilot for knowingly submitting false information to obtain or maintain medical certification, including omission of known disqualifying medical conditions, it doesn?t want the FAA to use too broad a brush that may unfairly categorize unintentional omissions.
?Our concern is that any such effort could turn into a ?witch-hunt? against pilots simply because of an omission on a form, as opposed to the real issue of fraud against the U.S. government,? said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of government and regulatory affairs. ?EAA does not believe that this concern is a medical issue, as most if not all the medical concerns in question could be addressed under the special issuance medical process and do not pose a medical safety issue.?
EAA members who have questions surrounding their medical certification should consult with the EAA Aeromedical Advisory Program.