Waiver denied/AFROTC... what to do?

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by 76momm, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. 76momm

    76momm Member

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    My DS applied to USNA his senior year of high school and had the DoDMERB exam in the process. He had no medical issues addressed in the exam. However, when listing medications, he reported triamcinolone cream that he had filled only once about a year before. He had been seen by a dermatologist for a separate (non-disqualifying) issue and brought up a small, dry patch of skin on his arm that was diagnosed as eczema and given the cream. DS was DQ for atopic dermatitis after the 12th birthday.

    DS is currently 4/c at The Citadel and decided on AFROTC. His previous DoDMERB exam was used when applying, so, of course, he was DQ. His detachment requested additional information to send to the waiver authority, and DS obtained that from the dermatologist. The waiver was denied.

    DS then saw a different dermatologist for a second opinion, as we felt he didn’t truly have eczema. The doctor took an extensive history and exam and believed DS to have dry skin, not eczema. He also stated he wouldn’t have ever given DS the triamcinolone cream but would have recommended moisturizing with OTC lotion. This info was sent to his detachment, and it was still denied.

    DS was told by his detachment that he could not contract or become an officer, but he could enlist. DS was told eczema is a no-go in the Air Force due to the possibility of a severe reaction to the small pox vaccine if he should ever deploy to a region where that would be a necessary precaution.

    My main questions are #1. If we feel his diagnosis of eczema is inaccurate, and a dermatologist has stated “no atopic dermatitis or history of” and the waiver is still being denied, what else can be done, or who else can we contact for more clarification? I’ve contacted a medical technician at DoDMERB who says it’s the waiver authority’s decision and to have the detachment contact them on DS’s behalf, but they already have. #2. I have read info that last year the Air Force relaxed their policies in eczema, asthma, and ADHD. If AF’s policy on enlisting has changed to “select candidates medically classified as having mild forms of eczema will be processed for a waiver”, why is it different for those seeking a contract through ROTC? If the issue is the small pox vaccine, certain clothing/equipment, exposure to irritants, etc., wouldn’t someone have the same chance of being exposed to those things by enlisting, or am I missing something?

    Thank you in advance for your time and any input!
     
  2. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    76momm -- I am not a doctor

    The AFROTC medical waiver authority is the Air Education and Training Command's (AETC's) Command Surgeon or Surgeon General -- terms are used interchangeably.

    http://www.aetc.af.mil/About-Us/
    http://www.aetc.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/
    http://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Article...-last-hope-for-every-recruits-medical-waiver/
    http://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Article...bers-team-up-to-support-14-units-two-centers/

    You might consider using the contact information supplied to you in the "waiver denied" letter or email you received. The letter does not always include instructions on how to appeal; however, you are allowed to contact them and inform them that you would like to appeal their determination, and if necessary, appeal to the AETC Command Surgeon/Surgeon General. A respectful letter written by your DS to the Command Surgeon detailing what you have outlined in your posts, and explaining how this condition has had no impact in his life (sports, school attendance, AFROTC participation, etc.) may be helpful to your appeal.

    Sincere best wishes to you and your DS and thank you for his willingness to serve
     
    mainemom likes this.
  3. 76momm

    76momm Member

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    Thanks so much for your response! DS never received a “waiver denied” letter or email with contact information. He was told by the detachment it was denied, and he has logged in to his DoDMERB account to see that it was denied. Everything except for the original DQ letter has been sent to the detachment. The only contact information listed in that letter is the medical technician assigned to DS, whom we have contacted and were told to have the detachment contact the waiver authority on DS’s behalf. To our knowledge they already have, which is why DS had the second doctor’s opinion reported.
    Thanks for the additional information and well wishes. I greatly appreciate your time! DS will be writing a letter very soon!
     
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  4. 23Lt

    23Lt Member

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    What was this Non-Disqualifying issue?
     
  5. 76momm

    76momm Member

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    Yes, a non-disqualifying issue.
     
  6. 76momm

    76momm Member

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    Sorry, I reread your question. It was mild acne. (Never prescribed accutane)
     
  7. CSMAX

    CSMAX New Member

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    How did this turn out for you? We are dealing with a similar situation now regarding waiver denials that aren't consistent with AF waiver guidelines or anything published.
     
  8. 76momm

    76momm Member

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    My son wrote a letter to the Air Force surgeon general with all his info, and he received a letter back that stated “your case was found to exceed Air Force waiver criteria.” So he’s still disqualified. We have attempted to contact anyone from the regional ROTC director, the detachment at college, local recruiters, and others just to get clarification and some answers. Either we don’t get a response, speak with someone who isn’t knowledgeable on the topic, or get conflicting answers. I hope to find a resolution, but he may need to start focusing on plan B. I hope you have more success in your situation.
     
  9. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    Very sorry to hear this . . . it seems from many posts (and our own experience) that the Air Force medical waiver authorities are the most "conservative". I have mentioned before that it is interesting that for the Army and the Navy, the medical waiver authorities are the "commanders" (i.e. USMA Supt., USNA Supt., AROTC Cammanding General,etc.) and they are advised by their medical staff. But in the AF, the medical waiver authorities are the doctors, not the commanders. I suspect this is cultural. The joke within the AF is "Who is the most powerful officer?" -- It's not the Chief of Staff, it is the Flight Surgeon because he can take the Chief"s wings away!"

    If your DS can see himself serving in another Branch, he might try that. I bet his AFROTC Det Staff there at the Citadel would be happy to assist him moving to the Army or Navy.\

    Best wishes to you and your DS, and a special thank you to him for being willing to serve.
     
    76momm and AROTC-dad like this.
  10. 76momm

    76momm Member

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    Thank you for your insight and helpfulness.
     
  11. CSMAX

    CSMAX New Member

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    We all but abandoned the AFROTC waiver at Thai point. Seems unlikely that it will happen. Focusing now on NROTC scholarship process. Hoping there is more forgiveness in the waiver process there. Assuming he’ll be competitive since he was awarded AF type I.
     
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  12. CSMAX

    CSMAX New Member

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    *this* point.
     
  13. CSMAX

    CSMAX New Member

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    Anyone with experience doing this?
     
  14. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    CSMAX -- there are others much more experienced than I with the NROTC process, but I agree your DS should be competitive since his record earned him an AF Type 1 . . . those are hard to come by

    Again, others have more Navy experience than I but from what I've read, it seems the Navy medical staff will take all factors into their decision.

    From our experience with the Army medical staff, they work hard to understand the condition and see if there is a way . . . it isn't an automatic "No" . . .

    Best wishes going forward and thank you to your DS for being willing to serve . . .
     
  15. fundocs

    fundocs Member

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    Oh my gosh! This is unbelievable! We are going through almost the same thing with our DS except different erroneous diagnosis and he HAD Type 7 scholarship. Otherwise same story. It’s like they don’t even READ a professional physician opinion. We have yet to write the Surgeon General but know the designated DoDmerb case worker for our DS was a nurse ( thanks Google)
    My husband and I are also physician , FP, and know this happens and wonder if the military almost looks for an excuse to NOT medically clear someone. You feel like you need a court hearing but don’t even know who to talk to! It’s like you are guilty and when you prove you are innocent they tell you... “ we don’t believe it” . So disappointing when there are kids that WANT to serve and are for likely qualified to do so. My question is WHO are the people at DODMERB that are denying these cases and how much medical knowledge do they have?
     
  16. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    fundocs -- IMHO it is NOT the folks at DoDMERB. They can only review the record and compare it to the standard described in DoDI 6130.03.

    http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/613003p.pdf?ver=2018-04-09-114201-123

    The DoDMERB staff has little discretion afforded to them. The DECISION authority is vested in the MEDICAL WAIVER AUTHORITY at each SA and each ROTC. As I have previously said, the AF medical waiver authority (@ AETC for AFROTC and at USAFA ) are the most "conservative" in their decisions.

    I know this is frustrating . . . been through it . . . my DS ended up going Army because they would grant a medical waiver where the AF would not . . .

    Truly Best Wishes . . . Please keep us apprised!
     
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  17. Humey

    Humey Member

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    From what others have written concerning AF vs the other branchese is that the Flight Doc at the AF have the ultimate say. In the other branches, the commanders get to decide based on the Doctors recommendations. This is one of the reason, its is tougher to get waivers out of the AF. I am not being specific regarding the academy but in general
     
  18. fundocs

    fundocs Member

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    Thanks for responding:
    My DS is at at a school with 300 plus AFROTC cadre, he says there is no one at his local ROTC going to bat for him, they say they have no input.
    Also when we looked at his DoDMERB web page status /summary, the last INPUT was April 2018 ! Does that mean everything we sent in as "new medical information" for waivers from April on has not been received?
     
  19. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    300 AFROTC Cadets is a good size AFROTC unit . . . I'm not surprised the AFROTC Det Cadre aren't "going to bat for him" with AETC . . . the waiver decison authority within the AF is contained within the medical channels . . . From what I have read I believe your DS is correct that his AFROTC cadre would most likely have little input. He should contact DoDMERB either by phone or email and respectfully inquire if they have received your updated medical information. The DoDMERB POCs can be found on the DoDMERB website and they are very helpful. As a part of contacting the AETC Command Surgeon it would be good for your DS to write a respectful letter expalining the situation (you can help him with it, but the letter needs to come from him) and either reference the updated information provided to DoDMERB or offer to provide the updated medical information directly to AETC Command Surgeon.
     
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  20. fundocs

    fundocs Member

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    So we called the POC person at DoDMERB and of course they passed the buck, lol - said that the next POC person was the Air Force Waiver authority. Don't know how to get a hold of them yet or who that person might be?
    Lawrence Mullen has replied to our email and has been VERY prompt, responsive and helpful
    As I told him- it is like going through a priest to get to God.
    I don't know what AETC Command is, will look up. How do you find addresses/email to send to?
    I am so desperate because our case is SOOO ridiculous , I feel that no one is listening. I am ready to write the AF Surgeon General- I see he was a Fam Practice Dr and feel he would have the most common sense. At this point, I just want someone to agree that DoDMERB has made a mistake as to what they "labelled" my kid, even if my DS does NOT get in!
    Any ideas on how to send information the the Surgeon General? The website lists only an email to contact with a specific 'topic directed' question.
    Thoughts?
    You have been most helpful!