March 27, 2007
House Committee Probes Aviation Medical "Fraud"
By Chad Trautvetter, Editor in Chief
On Tuesday, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., on Tuesday released a committee oversight report that identifies "widespread fraud" among pilots who hide serious medical conditions from examining physicians to retain medical certification for their FAA pilot certificates. The report notes that "in July 2005, the DOT Inspector General found 'egregious cases' of airmen lying about debilitating medical conditions on their applications" for FAA medicals. The DOT watchdog sampled 40,000 airman's records and found more than 3,200 held current medical certificates while simultaneously receiving Social Security benefits, some for medically disabling conditions. Forty people were prosecuted, but the committee's oversight and investigations staff believe hundreds more could have been pursued if not for limited resources. Further, the research team found "toxicology evidence" of serious medical conditions in nearly 10 percent of all pilots involved in fatal accidents during a 10-year period, though less than 10 percent of these medical conditions were disclosed to the FAA.
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