A recently released CANFORGEN provided clarification to conducting the medical portion of the personnel readiness verification (PRV) for Canadian Armed Forces personnel.
“This CANFORGEN provides clarification to conducting the medical portion of the personnel readiness verification (PRV)… Critical to understanding this clarification is differentiating between a periodic health assessment (PHA) and the assignment of a medical category,” stated CANFORGEN 144/23.
Valid for 2 to 5 Years
According to the CANFORGEN, a PHA is usually valid for two to five years, depending on the Canadian Armed Forces member’s age. A PHA is a mechanism by which members are assigned a medical category.
“A medical category can also be assigned during other health assessments such as enrollment medicals, release medicals, or when a new medical condition has been diagnosed. While a medical category does not have a defined expiry date per se, it has historically been considered invalid if the PHA is out-of-date as it may no longer be an accurate reflection of the member’s occupational fitness level,” noted the CANFORGEN.
Medical Category Still Valid
According to “Tier 1 PRV entitled basic readiness verification, there is a requirement to confirm that the medical category is still valid… As part of CAF reconstitution, the medical category remains valid from the date on which it was assigned until it is changed, including for domestic operations,” noted the CAFORGEN.
The exceptions include:
- OUTCAN postings,
- selection of SOF operators,
- operational aircrew,
- divers, and submariners (i.e., those with a requirement to maintain operational currency), and
- international deployments.
“Therefore, for most CAF members completing Tier 1 of the annual PRV, given that they do not fall within one of these designated groups, assessment by a health care provider (HCP) is not required regardless of when the medical category was assigned. Some members, however, may feel that their medical category is not representative of their occupational fitness level,” continued the CANFORGEN.
The CANFORGEN noted, as per the tenets of the CF Health Services (CFHS), approach of a person-partnered care, CAF members are regarded as equal partners in their own health care. Members must book an appointment with an HCP to discuss any new or developing medical condition. If a member feels their medical category is not representative of their occupational fitness level it is at this appointment, an HCP can determine if the medical category needs to be changed.
Focused Medical Assessment in lieu of a PHA
The CANFORGEN also noted if a medical category needs to be changed an HCP needs to determine if the medical category is still valid. For CAF members (Regular or Reserve Force) who require a Tier 2 PRV (i.e. Enhanced Readiness Verification) due to:
- an international operational deployment,
- being a member of a high-tempo unit or
- being posted to a high-tempo position,
personnel can achieve this through a focused medical assessment in lieu of a PHA. Once the assessment is completed, the HCP will sign the appropriate colour-coded PRV checklist item, providing the supported information to the force-generating unit as indicated (i.e. medical employment limitations and proposed risk mitigations).
For members who identify new and possibly significant medical issues during the focussed medical assessment, the HCP may determine that a more in-depth assessment, like a PHA or focussed assessment for a temporary medical category (TCAT), may be necessary to assign the appropriate medical category.
The CANFORGEN noted three examples of how it will be incorporated into the PRV process:
Example 1: a 26-year-old regular force supply tech is completing their tier 1 annual PRV. Their medical category is V1 CV1 H1 G2 O2 A5 dated 2015. They are, therefore, considered green. If the member feels that their medical category is not representative of their occupational fitness level, they must book an appointment with their HCP.
Example 2: a 36-year-old reserve force signals tech would like to deploy on a specific international operation and will therefore require class c employment. Their medical category is V2 CV2 H1 G2 O2 A5 dated 2015. During the tier 2 PRV for an international operation, a focussed medical screening is completed by an HCP where it is determined that the medical category is still valid. They are, therefore, considered green.
Example 3: a 50-year-old artillery officer is completing their tier 2 PRV for an international operation. Their medical category is V1 CV1 H1 G2 O2 A5, dated 2017. A focused medical screening is completed by an HCP, where it is determined that the medical category is still valid. They are, therefore, considered green.
Clarification and Guidance Pending Formal Changes
The CANFORGEN noted the date that the original medical category was assigned in the Canadian Forces Health Information System and other personnel management programs (such as guardian and monitor mass) would not be changed pending formal policy changes .
“The signed Tier 2 form will serve to demonstrate to the chain of command that the member’s medical category has been assessed by an HCP and the member is considered green, yellow or red.”
All other medical-related checklist items in Tier 1 and Tier 2 Screen (outlined in Ref A) must still be completed, including:
- confirmation of immunization status,
- dental health status, and
- social worker or chaplain assessment.
CANFORGEN Supersedes Previous Direction,
CANFORGEN 144/23 noted it supersedes previous direction, which states that reservists with an expired PHA deploying to an international or remote location will require a PHA. “A focused medical screening will instead be required.”
The CANFORGEN noted questions regarding the direction can be directed to the member’s chain of command or CF H SVCS C. The administrative response centre (ARC) is also available to answer questions related to this directive and included policies and can be contacted via the intranet positional mailbox at (plus symbol) cmp arc – cra cmp (at sign) cmp mil pers mgt(at sign)ottawa-hull, via the internet here or by phone at 1-833-445-1182.