Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
John Sprecher, Munson Army Health Center Exceptional Family Member Program case coordinator, briefed family members on EFMP enrollment, updates and how to prepare for permanent change-of-station moves Jan. 29 during the virtual Army Community Service EFMP coffee group.
With PCS season getting closer, service members and their families are encouraged to be proactive in their summer transition preparation.
Because of COVID-19 precautions, several portions of the screenings and EFMP updates will be done virtually except appointments for physicals, which must be conducted face-to-face with the medical provider, Sprecher said.
The MAHC EFMP and Family Member Travel Screening Office can help families prepare needed medical information.
Families who are staying in the United States are not required to go through screenings unless their service member is with the Air Force and has an exceptional family member. In that case, only the exceptional family member needs to be screened.
Sprecher said he encourages families with exceptional family members to keep up their enrollment in the program, which expires every three years. For families with an EFMP member, no travel decision will be made within six months of enrollment expiration.
Families traveling outside the continental United States, whether they have an EFMP member or not, are required to be screened before they travel.
Once service members receive their request for orders, Sprecher said they should call the EFMP and Family Member Travel Screening Office at 684-6250 to get started.
Before screenings can be scheduled, there are forms that must be filled out, with different forms for each branch of service.
Army families must have a completed DA Form 5888 signed by the soldier’s unit S1, as well as a DA Form 7246. Completed forms can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or brought in-person with a scheduled EFMP appointment. The forms can be found at https://armypubs.army.mil.
Additionally, if any children listed on the orders have an individualized education plan or an individualized family service plan with his or her school, a DD 2792-1 must be completed and submitted with a copy of the plan.
The same forms are required for the Navy and the Marine Corps. Service members will receive a packet from their service with web orders. Completed packets go to the gaining installation for suitability screening. Forms needed include a DD 2792, DD 2792-1 for school-age children, one DD 2807-1 per person on orders, one NAVMED 1300/1 per person on orders that must be filled out by the primary care provider and dental; one NAVMED 1300/2 per person on the orders, and NAVPERS 1300/16.
Air Force service members will receive a packet with their Report on Individual Personnel. Completed packets go to the EFMP office at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., for processing and EFMP if required. To contact the Whiteman AFB EFMP, call (660) 687-6032. Forms needed include one DD 2792 per person, a DD 2792-1 for school-age children, an AF 1466, one AF 1466D per person that has been filled out by dental; a DD 2005, and an AF 2523.
EFMP-specific forms are available at http://efmp.amedd.army.milforms.html.
Once all questions are answered and all forms are filled out, the screening process begins.
“(In a screening), we look for current physicals, we look for any unused referrals, we look for anything that could be EFMP enrollable, and we do that for every family member,” Sprecher said.
Dependents with open medical referrals cannot be screened until referrals are completed. Once the EFMP office completes the initial screening, each family member has a one-on-one in-person screening with the EFMP doctor.
“The doctor will dig a little deeper,” Sprecher said. “Once all that is complete, the doctor signs the form and I stamp it, (and) I forward it to (the adjutant general) for orders. AG then sends it to the gaining installation for command sponsorship.”
Travel screenings, depending on the number of appointments required, can take 30-45 days to be completed. Final travel screenings will only be done virtually.
Changes to the family dynamic that can affect travel screening, including pregnancy, dual military, new dependents and changes in custody, must be shared with the MAHC EFMP office as soon as possible.
An EFMP family member must be approved by the gaining installation, which can take an additional 30 days or more. Once the exceptional family member is approved, AG can produce orders.
If a family is denied by the gaining installation, Sprecher said there are three options. Reasons for denial could include services required for the exceptional family member are not available at the gaining installation.
“If they get denied, they can request a reconsideration, they can go unaccompanied or they can ask for a new assignment,” Sprecher said. “I will tell this to soldiers on a case-by-case basis, but if they get a denial sometimes it is not worth fighting it. … We sit down and we do advisement to help them figure out what they should do.”
Denials can happen for assignments outside of the continental United States, Sprecher said. In 2019, the EFMP and Family Travel Screening office screened 250 families and five were denied. The effect of COVID-19 on denied applications could not be determined for 2020.
The EFMP and Family Member Travel Screening office is on the second floor of MAHC. Hours are 8-11 a.m. Monday through Friday by appointment only, and overseas screenings are 12:30-4 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 684-6250 and ask for EFMP.