MSC is committed to a safe and healthy environment for all CIVMARs; therefore, we offer medical services to all full-time employees. Services include: surgical and hospital services and supplies needed for treatment of an injury as well as transportation for obtaining care. We hope you will take advantage of the medical benefits available to you, and you will read below for additional information on medical services and processes.
Personal Medical Conditions
CIVMARs are responsible for arranging treatment for routine and chronic conditions with their primary care provider. The Medical Services Officer (MSO) aboard ship is available for urgent medical needs and arranging Occupational Health examinations based on your position, but it does not serve as your primary care provider. They do not treat or provide medications for any chronic medical condition.
All CIVMARs are strongly encouraged to have health insurance. You are encouraged to verify that your coverage includes overseas medical coverage and covers emergency expenses. Although MSC will ensure that medical expenses for work related injuries are paid overseas, if you need to be seen overseas for a non-work related medical problem, you could incur great expense or even risk not being seen, if you do not have overseas insurance coverage. You have 60 days from your start of employment to enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program. Coverage will start on the first pay period after the enrollment form is submitted. See the FEHB advisor for more information.
- Any chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disorders, cholesterol disorders, cardiac conditions, and cancer, are the CIVMAR’s responsibility and should be controlled well enough to not require follow-up evaluation more frequently than every six months. Conditions that require a follow-up evaluation more frequently (less than six months) may result in extended periods of being Not Fit For Duty (NFFD). To ensure that chronic conditions remain controlled, CIVMARs must submit a Medical Summary Form completed by your medical provider approximately every six months to one year, depending on the condition. Medical Summary Form may be obtained from your MSO, the MSC medical offices via fax, or downloaded. The required information may also be on your own provider’s letterhead or narrative summary form, as long as it contains the information requested on the MSC Medical Summary Form, especially listing all current medications and follow-up requirements.
- Anyone required to take a prescription medication should have at least a six-month supply of the medication prior to sailing. Medications should be in carry-on bags, if flying overseas to a ship. DO NOT pack your medications in your checked luggage in case it gets lost. Relying on refills via mail is not recommended. MSC Medical may provide a letter which you can give to your doctor, pharmacy, or insurance company to try and help you obtain extra refills of medications needed for deployment.
- If eyeglasses or contacts are needed for vision correction, you should ideally have two pairs of glasses or extra contacts with you and a current written prescription. You can request prescription safety glasses through the Safety Department IAW SMS 2.1-012-ALL procedure.
MSC Medical Examinations
If you are notified that you are due for a physical or occupational health exam, these examinations will be paid for by MSC. Exams can be scheduled by the ship Medical Services Officer (MSO) or by calling the CIVMAR Support Center (CSC). You must bring your supplemental health record with you to the examination. If the periodicities align, MSC Medical examinations may be submitted to the USCG National Maritime Center (NMC) for renewal of USCG mariner credentials in lieu of completing the USCG 719K examination forms at your own expense. NMC may still require additional documentation at their discretion.
Drug Free Workplace Information
Not Fit for Duty (NFFD) Procedures
If a medical condition occurs which requires you to be placed in a Not Fit For Duty (NFFD) status, you must submit supporting documentation to MSC Medical via fax or email. The fax number and email address are located at the top of the Medical Summary Form and on the Medical Points of Contact page. Follow-up Medical Summary Forms should be provided to MSC Medical on a regular basis (preferably at least monthly) to update your fitness for duty status. Based on the documentation provided by your health care provider, MSC Medical will determine if you are fit to return to duty. DO NOT assume that because your personal medical provider has marked “Fit for Duty” (FFD) that you will be cleared by MSC medical as being FFD. MSC Medical will determine if you meet MSC medical standards or whether more information may be needed from your provider. You do not want to have needlessly traveled to the CSU pool at your own expense only to find out you were not cleared by MSC Medical, and that more information was required or that you do not meet MSC Medical Standards.
- MSC Medical only determines fitness for duty status not for leave status. You must request leave through your placement officer (sick leave, annual leave, LWOP, etc.) If documentation indicates that an extension of the NFFD status is warranted, you still must contact your Marine Placement Specialist (MPS) regarding your leave status.
- If a chronic condition follow-up requirement lapses while you are NFFD for another reason such as an injury, although you may get medically cleared for the original reason you were NFFD, you will not be cleared as FFD until you have provided an update on the lapsed chronic condition.
- Once you have been cleared FFD by MSC Medical, you should contact your MPS regarding orders or reporting to the pool.
- CIVMARs in a leave status who have medical issues arise which can affect their duty status, such as scheduling of routine tests, elective surgery, and prolonged dental work, should keep their MSO (if assigned to a ship) and the MSC Medical Office informed of their status and submit appropriate supporting documentation.
- Recurrent medical repatriations for the same problem can be grounds for being made permanently NFFD. Repatriation for failure to meet your responsibilities such as having enough medication or prescription eyewear to complete a deployment can result in disciplinary action.
- If you have been medically repatriated off a ship due to a work related injury, you must keep MSC Medical updated as well as the MSC Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) staff. The OWCP representative is assigned based on first letter of the mariner’s last name.
- The OWCP contact numbers are:
Alpha A-F: 757-341-6478
Alpha G-M: 757-341-6475
Alpha N-Z: 757-341-6474
Out-port Medical Notice for CIVMARs
The out-port medical examination process enables you to obtain your required MSC examinations occupational at Navy Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF) or Federal Occupational Health (FOH) clinics while at home on leave. The intent is to allow maximum flexibility in obtaining required medical examinations closer to your residence and allowing you to spend more time in a personal leave status. You have the option to complete your exam either while on leave or when you return to the CIVMAR Support Unit (CSU).
The Medical Services Officer (MSO) is responsible for ensuring each mariner is medically screened when reporting onboard and before departing the ship to identify what examinations, if any, are needed. Your physical examination may be scheduled before departing the ship and the MSO can assist you with scheduling or you can call the CIVMAR Support Center, 757-341-4610 or 757-341-4611.
If you have any supporting documentation from your own physician on any new health concern or existing chronic medical condition, please bring a copy to your appointment and have it forwarded with your physical examination to the MSC medical office. The CSU East Medical Office and West Medical Office are the centralized points of review for the physical examinations and making duty determinations.
There are certain aspects of the occupational medical examination which may not be done at FOH clinics. If you require an asbestos medical surveillance examination or an audiogram (hearing test) as part of the hearing conservation program, these examinations must be done at a MTF and not a FOH facility. A hearing test may be done at a FOH facility, as part of a routine physical examination, but may not be valid as part of the hearing conservation program.
Before departing the ship, the Master, Purser and/or your Department Head will remind you of your obligation to remain in contact with your Marine Placement Specialist (MPS). At the time you leave the vessel, you will be required to provide updated contact information (such as home address, telephone number, email address, cellular number, and/or fax number) to the purser for relaying to your MPS.
Many physical examinations done for MSC include lab tests requiring fasting specimens. When scheduling an appointment for a physical, ask if you will have blood drawn. Fasting requires that you eat no food for a minimum of eight hours, but preferably up to 12 hours, prior to having your blood drawn. You should drink no liquids (other than water) during this time but should continue to take all required prescription medication. Smoking and heavy exercise may affect your results as well so avoid them during your fasting period.
While attending the medical examination, you are placed in a full duty status with pay. The time you take to set up the examination and to make arrangements is not paid. Time and attendance will be maintained by your MPS and can be accomplished by phone, fax, or other specified means. Compensation and transportation costs to and from the nearest medical facility will be in accordance with existing joint travel regulations entitlements. Mariners who miss appointments or make untimely cancellations will reflect negatively upon you and the Command.
If MSC Medical has declared you FFD following your out-port physical examination and you are not assigned to a ship, you have the following options:
- If you have approved leave remaining, you may remain on leave to finish your leave period or you may be authorized additional leave, if requested and approved by your MPS.
- If your leave is completed, you should discuss with your MPS as to whether you should report to the CSU to await assignment or obtain training or if you may report directly to your next ship assignment.
If you are found NFFD, you have several options:
- You may request sick or other leave through your MPS.
- If you request to remain in a duty status, you must report to the CSU at your own expense, and you will receive your advance notification of enforced leave. At this time, you may seek medical treatment, second opinions, or whatever needs to be done to get medically cleared for duty.
- You may remain on leave or leave without pay while you seek medical treatment/evaluation close to your home.
- Finding and paying for a physician and medical treatment/evaluation will be your responsibility.
The MSO is the point of contact for questions from shipboard personnel regarding out-port physicals. CIVMARs ashore may contact the respective force medical offices: