When policy eclipses reason … oh, and clinical medicine
I last discussed the HIMS program in July of 2020. My article, titled “Lifetime Monitoring: A Warning To Airmen,” followed the FAA’s policy change to establish lifetime monitoring for those in the HIMS program, and those yet to be in the HIMS Program. Since that time, the FAA attempted to soften that policy by and through a second policy called “The Step Down Plan.”1 Since there appears to be no clear end in sight, I think it best to revisit the FAA’s beloved program and highlight some new concerns. Whether these concerns make their way to your congressional representative is up to you.
First and foremost, I want to make it crystal clear that I in no way want to invalidate the HIMS program for those airmen that truly need it. The program has been historically successful for airmen who genuinely suffer from alcoholism and have been correctly diagnosed with substance use disorder, as defined in the DSM. My goal with these articles is not to nullify the program for those individuals; rather, my goal is to make the program stronger by mitigating the pollution of airmen into the program whose admission is simply inappropriate.