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Program FAQ's

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What are medical standards and who do they apply to?

The medical standards apply only to arduous duty wildland firefighting positions as described in PMS 310-1. Specific medical standards are required because of the arduous and hazardous nature of the job, in addition to providing a means of tracking occupational health relative to acute and chronic exposure to the wildland firefighter environment. The information gathered will assist the agencies in improving their fire safety programs and their commitment to maintain a high degree of responsibility toward public and firefighter safety.

Are the medical standards the same as the fitness test for arduous duty known as the work capacity or pack test?

No. You must have a qualification letter from CHS stating that you meet the medical standards for arduous duty before you can participate in the arduous duty work capacity test (pack test). For those in Phase 3 you will need a Cleared determination (back page of exam from our website).

How often are medical exams required (what's the periodicity)?

All positions considered arduous must take an exam every three years and self-certify in the years between as a condition of employment. The self-certification process will be in place for Phase 1 participants fire season 2016 in the EAS system. Periodicity will start again under the new contract. If your Unit has been selected to phase in, new exams must be completed.

Have the exam components changed from previous years?

Yes. The exam is more comprehensive and includes adequate testing for a Reviewing Medical Officer to assess the individual against the Federal Interagency Wildland Firefighter Medical Standards. Therefore, appointments may take longer than before.

Exam FAQ's

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What unique identification number do I use to input firefighters in CAS?

Use the examinees' social security number. Once entered into the CAS system, the social security number is defaulted to the last four and protected per Privacy Act and contract requirements.

What exam type should be scheduled - a Baseline or Periodic? What if a baseline has been completed in the past?

During initiation of the contract, DOI MSP provided CHS with all previous baselines that could be verified. CHS uploaded this information into CAS. The CAS system is set to automatically prompt schedule of a periodic exam for all individuals with verified baselines. Unless the system prompts you for a Periodic exam please chose Baseline.

Where do I go for my medical examination and how do I get paperwork?

Your local FMO or SHRO will request your exam through CHS. If you are in Phase 3 they will give you an exam packet to take to a local provider for fire season 2016. For Phase 1 or 2 CHS will be emailing, mailing or faxing your exam directly to the clinic. You will need to fill out a questionnaire online in the EAS System. CHS will contact you once an exam has been requested.

What do I need to bring to the exam?

Bring supporting medical records or documentation for anything you mark "yes" to on the questionnaire as well as info on any medical issues you have or medicines you are taking. This could include recent eye exam results, recent A1C levels for diabetes, etc. Providing this information to CHS at your exam could make the determination process easier.

How can I help make the process as smooth as possible?

-Be responsive to CHS's contact attempts.
-Be flexible with appointment dates and times.
-Don't miss the appointment.
-Most importantly, upload (into EAS) and/or bring to the appointment any supporting information for recent/existing conditions, especially if any specific conditions were disclosed on the medical history questionnaire.
o Example 1: if you are diabetic you should upload or provide at the time of appointment recent A1C readings that indicate you are static and stable.
o Example 2: if you had a recent surgery or procedure you should bring a copy of a note from your Doctor indicating you can perform the essential functions of an arduous duty wildland firefighter.

Why might I be driving by one clinic to go to another clinic that is further?

There are several possible reasons:
-The closer clinic cannot perform all of the exam requirements
-The closer clinic has refused to contract with CHS
-There are no available appointments at the closer clinic
If you have clinic suggestions please provide that clinic's information to DOI MSP: wlffcsr@blm.gov or 888-286-2521. CHS will attempt to include that clinic in their network.

How long does it take from the time of exam to a qualification determination?

Determination will be made within 10 business days of the medical exam. There are exceptions if a blood specimen clots or tests need to be repeated. Please allow plenty of time and request your exam early.

What happens in the event of a missed appointment?

The Government will incur a cost of $151 dollars for every missed appointment. Please contact CHS and reschedule if you cannot make it! Please call CHS customer service at 1-888-363-8619 to let them know and reschedule.

What if I have concerns/issues with clinic quality?

Please contact: wlff@chsmedical.com or 888-636-8619 and express your concerns.

Why did I receive two letters from CHS regarding the outcome of my exam?

The Qualification Determination letter is the official letter clearly indicating your medical qualification (Qualified, Qualified with Risk Mitigation/Waiver, Not Qualified or additional information required). The second letter you received is a courtesy letter from CHS, separate from the DOI MSP process summarizing your overall health with suggestions for follow-up care which will not be covered by the Government.

An individual was determined Not Qualified. What is the next step?

Participate in the Risk Mitigation/Waiver Process and/or if you disagree with your qualification, provide additional information for Reviewing Medical Officer Review that could potentially change your qualification. -Information on and help with the Risk Mitigation/Waiver Process can be found here: https://www.nifc.gov/medical_standards or by calling 888-286-2521. -A request for Reviewing Medical Officer (RMO) review can also be obtained using the contact information above. An RMO review can be requested at any time during the DOI MSP process if an individual feels they have additional medical information that could change their qualification determination. The DOI MSP can help guide you on the type of information that will be helpful.

I have concerns about the non-qualification determination I received from CHS or the local clinic, who do I contact to report this to?

Call your FMO or SHRO. If further questions remain please have the FMO or SHRO call or email the DOI MSP Customer Service Representative at 888-286-2521 or email them at wlffcsr@blm.gov to request a RMO Review.

How can I request a copy of my exam?

Request a copy of the exam through Email to CHS at: wlff@chsmedical.com -Employee should email from the account provided at registration to ensure valid identity.
-CHS will send a reply email with an encrypted link that will allow them to securely access their medical exam results.

Why does one person get Qualified while another doesn't and they have the same issue?

Given the variations in which a condition may present in different individuals (i.e. severity, aerobic capacity, medications and doses, triggers), each case is reviewed independently with consideration of all the medical information available from the examination and from the examinee's personal health care provider.

Risk Mitigation/Waiver and RMO FAQ's

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What is the difference between Risk Mitigation and a Waiver?

A Risk Mitigation would place specific requirements on the WLFF to reduce the risk(s) associated with the non-clearance medical conditions. These mitigations will be identified in the Interactive Assessment Process with you, the FMO and SHRO. A Waiver would waive the Federal Interagency Wildland Firefighter Medical Standards. This option would require the WLFF to establish that the non-qualified medical conditions does not interfere or pose a safety risk with the essential functions of the job. It is important to stress that these are proposed and specialized mitigations should be developed on a case by case basis during the Interactive Risk Assessment Process.

What if I have a pre-existing Risk Mitigation/Waiver on file?

All existing Risk Mitigation/Waivers were provided to CHS during contract initiation. Upon review of your examination the Reviewing Medical Officer will determine any changes in your medical condition that could impact your Risk Mitigation/Waiver. If there are no changes that impact your existing Risk Mitigation/Waiver, you will be Qualified with Risk Mitigation/Waiver and your Risk Mitigation/Waiver will remain in place unless there are changes in your health status. If there are changes in your medical condition, you will be Not Qualified and your Risk Mitigation/Waiver will be reviewed.

I just received a Not Qualified letter and I want to start the Risk Mitigation/Waiver process.

Bring your Not Qualified determination letter to your FMO or SHRO and you will receive an Opportunity Memo from your SHRO with complete instructions on how to participate in the Risk Mitigation / Waiver Process. Upon receiving the Opportunity Memo you will have 5 calendar days to submit your response back to your SHRO. Please refer WLFF Toolbox on the left side of our homepage for further information.

I have additional medical information that may change my qualification from Not Qualified to Qualified. What should I do?

If you are submitting additional information for an RMO Review, gather all medical records that show the current status of your medical condition as well as any tests or information from your doctor. Please call or email the DOI MSP Customer Service Representative at 888-286-2521 or wlffcsr@blm.gov to request a RMO Review. You will be required to send the DOI MSP an RMO Review Request form found here our website; RMO Review Request.

What will the Interactive Risk Assessment Process evaluate?

The Interactive Risk Assessment Process will evaluate the following:
  • Medical conditions and ability to safely and efficiently perform the tasks
  • Qualifications, Experience and Training
  • Medical Conditions is Static and Stable
  • Conditions of Employment
  • Body Stature and PPE
Please refer to the DOI MSP website at http://www.nifc.gov/medical_standards/ under job aids for a complete guide. There are strict timelines that must be followed in the Risk Mitigation / Waiver Process.

Who makes the final decision in the Risk Mitigation/Waiver Process?

In both the 1st level and 2nd level of the RM/W Process an agency Management Officer (MO) will make the final decision. The MO is typically the local level Line Officer.

Waiver Documents




Interactive Risk Assessment Process Job Aid