For families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), PCSing is extra stressful due to the clearance procedure. The theory behind medical clearance for EFMP is that the military member and family will be protected from relocating to an area with inadequate medical services. Unfortunately, in practice the medical clearance becomes an extra stressor for EFMP families.
In reality, EFMP points of contact vary from base to base and wait list and medical services change frequently due to many different factors. This means that families might be unpleasantly surprised to be cleared for a base with inadequate services or denied a PCS when in actuality, services are available.
Autism Specific EFMP PCS Concerns
Our first PCS was 8 months after Science Kid’s diagnosis with autism and enrollment in EFMP. I was excited about our new location as our location at the time did not have adequate services. I did research and the services at our next location would be far superior. At the medical clearance appointment, no one asked me if I knew what services existed for my son at the gaining base, so I assumed it was already known. Imagine my surprise when our medical clearance was denied! My husband called and was told it was due to lack of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), even though I already had ABA services lined up for Science Kid! My husband provided the information I had found and we were medically cleared.
Now I go into medical clearance quite differently (we are about to PCS for the 3rd time since 2010 so I get lots of practice). I go in with my sons’ medical and educational files. I provide the team with all the research I have done regarding the gaining location—wait list approximations, number of therapy hours expected, and any information about the schools. Technically, I am doing the job of the EFMP point of contact, but it ensures they have correct information and I am not faced with any surprises.
PCS Checklist for EFMP families
Here’s a down and dirty checklist to make your EFMP PCS smoother:
-Research gaining base to explore services
-Print out DD Form 2792
-Schedule dental examination as a dentist must sign off
-Schedule appointment with primary care doctor for them to review records and sign form
-Schedule meeting with child’s teacher, if the child is in school
-Have all therapists sign form and note how many hours they see your child
-Review addendums to ensure the requirements for the specific condition have been met
The best advice I can give is to do your own research and put yourself in charge of your PCS and to expect some bumps and hiccups and a dose of Murphy’s Law along the way.