Info on PHS

Jason Perry

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This last week I had a case at the USPHS. The laws and DODI's are the same at the Medical Review Board (MRB, the PHS terminology for the Informal Board) and at the Medical Appeals Board (MAB, which is also the acronynm for the office that processes cases the Medical Affairs Branch). However, the procedures are MUCH different, so much so that I think it is vital to put up more info here. I will be posting my thoughts in the next few days.
 

jackgately

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Jason,

You are right about the vast difference in procedure in PHS cases vice the typical PEB settings.

Frankly, having represented several PHS officers in the past few years, I have always found it somewhat comical that the medical branch of public service provides it members with the least amount of due process.

My board members were exceptionally fair and open minded once we were at the formal hearing level, but the informal level was rather arbitrary. In one case, a medical officer against whom my client had field a sexual harassment grievance was the drafter of the NARSUM.

v/r

Jack Gately
 

Jason Perry

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Jack,

I am not sure if it is comical or tragic! It would make most people gasp if they knew what PHS due process looked like.

It struck me as bizarre that they seat their version of the PEB with members who are tasked with sitting on one board only. They give these senior officers the tasking, they show up for an orientation, then sit on the board the next day, never again, in the vast majority of cases, to sit on another board. The head of the MAB section (who is responsible for the "informal boards" findings) sits in on the formal board and sits with the formal board in deliberations to "offer advice or answer questions." This is such a far cry from what the law requires in terms of fairness (and now, under the 2008 NDAA in training for PEB members) that it is difficult to see how they can run things like this with a straight face.

When I first posted this thread, it was relatively soon after my leaving the Army and I did not know where the interest or need would lie in various posts. I wish I had more time to devote to all the posts and issues, and these PHS issues have not gathered much attention. I can say that I am still pursuing a case in front of the PHS, which is likely to shortly move to US Court of Federal Claims due to their giant backlog processing BCMR cases. I will update when there is final resolution.

The process at the PHS would make you laugh, except you have to get past the tears of disbelief.
 

jackgately

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Yes, Jason, I understand and agree with you. The best part about the PHS system is having administrative support personnel like Derrick Williams to help run inteference within the MAB structure.

I would say that he plays the same role as Deborah Farley at the Navy Yard or Ms. Ortiz at Walter Reed.

Frankly, the reason why you have not had more interest is because most PHS officers do not understand their rights, do not have access to counsel unless they find and retain you or me, etc.

v/r

Jack
 

4g63

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Hi, I m new here. I found this forum from PHSChat. I m a current USPHS officer. My friend and I are under the medical limited tour. My friend has celiac disease and i just found out from her today that PHS will kick her out, even though she went on a deployment to either Gustav or Ike last year for 2 weeks without any problems. Any advice? Thanks in advance
 

Jason Perry

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4g63,

Welcome! First, look over the thread on Overview of MEB/PEB Process (in my signature below). Pay particular attention to the threads on Fitness vs. Unfitness.

I assume that your friend want to be found fit?
 
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