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DoD Launches Pilot Program to Improve Family Member Travel Screening

Going overseas? Military families headed to duty stations outside the continental U.S. don't need any additional headaches. To help out, medical representatives from the four Services have been working with the Office of Special Needs (OSN), under the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in an effort to enhance the medical travel screening process for your family. 

Currently, each Service uses its own set of travel screening forms and processes when families are relocating to OCONUS locations. These distinct processes can create challenges for families, particularly at joint-base and sister-service installations. To resolve these issues, the service medical representatives and OSN developed standardized medical, dental, and educational screening forms for use across all four services.

The OSN plans to test these standardized forms at select locations during the Family Member Travel Screening (FMTS) Pilot. A FMTS office, which was formally called the Overseas Suitability Screening (OSS) Office, has been established at each of the pilot locations.

The purpose of the pilot is to test the standardized forms and determine if enough information is provided to the gaining overseas medical authority to make an appropriate determination on service availability during the family member travel process. By standardizing the forms across the services, OSN wants to improve the consistency of service and enhance the family and servicemember experience during the permanent change of duty station (PCS) process. 

Each service provided comprehensive information on successful practices and information required to make Family travel determinations. This information has been incorporated into the standardized forms, and the service specific forms have been reduced to five that are standard for all servicemembers on assignment to overseas locations. The five forms are for screening verification, patient care referral, medical and educational information, dental information, and an internal administrative checklist. An additional purpose of the pilot study is to test new, standardized FMTS forms as alternatives to the current, Department-specific forms using them across age groups (children 6 months and older are included). 

If you are assigned to a participating CONUS pilot location listed below and going to select locations in Germany, Japan or Okinawa, you are a pilot participant and will be using the new pilot forms. 

  • Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Naval Training Center San Diego, California
  • Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, California. 

Contact your local FMTS office as soon as you have been notified of an overseas assignment to one of the overseas locations mentioned above to determine your participation in this pilot.

In addition to the new test forms, the pilot also encourages families moving overseas to begin the PCS process early. Families should begin early and avoid waiting until the last 15-30 days to get medical and dental checks. Occasionally, medical or dental checks lead to referrals, and increasing lead time helps ensure referral visits can be scheduled and record-keeping closed out. In addition, enrollment in TRICARE Dental is encouraged, especially if the military family is headed overseas, unless there is other dental coverage. 

The FMTS pilot study forms will be distributed over a 90-day period starting on 30 January 2017. All families that receive the FMTS pilot forms during the 90-day distribution period will continue through the FMTS pilot until their travel screening process is complete. Medical personnel at all pilot locations (losing and gaining) have already received training on the new DoD Forms. 

If you are assigned to a sister service location at one of the above mentioned CONUS locations, the local FMTS office will assist you in determining whether or not you are a pilot participant. Individuals should not be turned away because of their service affiliation. 

An additional goal is to ensure that the entire military family who travels with the servicemember have physician, dental, and education screenings performed well in advance of the PCS move. 

For more information on the FMTS pilot or PCSing with an exceptional family member, contact your local Exceptional Family Member Program office.

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