Coast Guard seeks comments on medical evaluations

The Coast Guard is soliciting comments on its merchant mariner medical evaluation program. The Coast Guard is accepting comments from the public on the perceived benefits and concerns from adopting a system similar to ones used by the Federal Aviation Administration or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Both use designated medical examiners.

Currently, the Coast Guard maintains an “open” system of medical evaluation. While the ultimate determination of medical fitness rests with the Coast Guard, mariners may have any authorized medical professional fill out the appropriate evaluation forms, which are then submitted to the Coast Guard. The evaluation reports are reviewed by the National Maritime Center and a fitness determination is then made. Conversely, a “closed” system would require mariners to have their physical valuations done by designated medical examiners who are authorized by the Coast Guard to conduct physical examinations of mariners. Subject to detailed policy guidance, medical certificates may be issued by the designated medical examiner.

Comments should be submitted by May 2. The comments can be posted online [] using docket number USCG-2013-0089.

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