View Full Version : New physical requirements help serivcemembers stay prepared

01-18-06, 02:53 PM
New physical requirements help serivcemembers stay prepared
Marine Forces Atlantic
Story by Sgt. Chad Swaim

NORFOLK, Va. (Jan. 17, 2006) -- When the need arises, servicemembers should be able to deploy at the drop of a hat.

Recent changes in the in the preventive health assessment (PHA) program can help reduce the time service members need to prepare for deployments.

This is ends the five-year physicals most are used to and the beginning of the annual PHA.

“Studies have shown that they are not effective tools for maintaining the health of our active duty forces,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Rhonda L. Rossi, medical administrative assistant, Marine Forces Command.

There’s not much difference between the five-year physicals and the PHA. All of the same blood tests will be completed. However, medical personnel will be looking at shot records, ensuring service members go to dental, and opening a dialog with patients about any potential health problems. For females this will also include a Pap smear.

“It's also a chance to council you on better health practices that are better, plus you get to ask questions,” said Rossi. "We’re going to make sure everything works at this moment, along with the lab work along with things that we can touch feel or quantify."
This new requirement actually took affect in December 2001. However, according to Rossi, a native of South Bend, Ind, only recently has been enforced.

”Navy medicine did not have the resources available to make sure that all of the approximately 50,000 active duty in this area alone were seen once a year,” said Rossi. “The clinics could not support it.”

This change applies to everyone on active duty in the Navy and Marine Corps, as well as some reservists.

“If reservists are on active duty for over a year, they will also be subject to this requirement,” said Rossi. “This plan was probably modeled after the fact that reservist have to get an annual statement of redness from a provider once a year that tells them weather or not they're fit to serve as reservist for the next year.”

However, there are exceptions to the rule. According to Rossi, there are some special duties such as, but not limited too, diving, independent and aviation duties that will still require the older physical, as well as reenlistments and separations.

The annual PHA will also help some service members cut down on the time and stress of preparing for a deployment by keeping all of their physical requirements up to date.

“Someone recently brought me their record, and they needed eight shots before they could deploy,” said Rossi. “There are some people who practically have to start all over.”

Rossi recommends that anyone with a birth month of October through December of 2005 as well as those in January and February of this year call now to get their PHA scheduled to help prevent delays down the road.

The Marine Corps requires that you be physically fit before you can get orders for deployments, transfers and schools and the PHA is the only authority that says you are good to go, said to Rossi.

For more information contact Rossi at 836-1552