EFMP steps for smooth PCS
By Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 11, 2017
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
With warmer temperatures, longer days and the PCS season quickly approaching, the Exceptional Family Member Program medical staff wants to ensure every Airman is crossing their ‘t’s and dotting their ‘i’s when leaving Fairchild.
The EFMP and Family Member Relocation Clearance process is designed to prevent family members from moving to locations where their medical and educational needs cannot be met, safe-guarding families from reduction in services and promoting effective use of available health care resources.
Many misconceptions exist surrounding the EFMP, causing orders and the permanent change of station process to become delayed. Any Airman with a family member who requires a specialty provider, from a psychologist to a neurologist, social worker and beyond, should ensure they are enrolled in the EFMP and be aware of the extra steps they need to take to move.
Upon assignment notification and if traveling with dependents, service members should contact the EFMP-M office to speak with Darlene Smokoska, 92nd Medical Group Family Member Relocation Clearance coordinator, or Margaret Stalker, 92nd MDG Special Needs coordinator, to schedule an appointment to begin the process for ensuring their family is on their orders. They will provide guidance for each service member’s situation and any additional steps they may need to take. This process may take three to six weeks to complete.
“We want families to start this process early,” said Lt. Col. Michelle Anton, 92nd Medical Group chief of medical staff. “Airmen and their families cannot PCS without going through this process and gaining medical clearance.”
When arriving at the EFMP-M office, each service member is asked to complete a questionnaire that checks the EFMP enrollment status of their family. Families enrolled or who will be potentially enrolled in EFMP, will be required to compile a travel packet to determine availability of needed care and services at their gaining location. The packet may include medical and dental summaries, individual education plans or civilian medical records.
“EFMP and the PCS process ensure the health and wellbeing of family members,” Smokoska said. “We want to take some of the pressure off to ensure service members can focus on the mission.”
After meeting with the FMRCC and SNC, the service member will complete and return the required forms. Once all the documents are received and reviewed, a face-to-face appointment will be scheduled.
“Our family clearance meetings are conducted twice a month on the first and third Thursday. We have very limited appointments outside of this timeframe and ask for the family’s cooperation in scheduling during the pre-arranged times,” Stalker said.
For a continental United States move, only the EFMP enrolled or potential for enrollment family member needs to be present. An outside continental U.S. move requires all family members requesting to travel to attend the face-to-face meeting.
Upon completion of the face-to-face meeting, the medical review officer and SNC will determine whether a special need for the family exists. If it is determined no special need exists, the service member may continue for orders processing. If it is determined the family has special needs, the travel packet will be forwarded to the gaining location where medical staff there will have 14 days to determine the availability of required medical and educational care.
If the gaining location approves the travel packet, the information will be forwarded to an assignment counselor for orders processing. If the gaining location determines travel is not recommended based on the lack of medical and educational assistance, families will be provided guidance in regards to the travel recommendation.
“If there are any questions regarding your upcoming PCS or the Family Member Relocation Clearance process, the EFMP-M office has an open door policy and the staff will do their very best to assist the service member and their family members,” Stalker said. “Please do not hesitate to call us.”
For more information, call Darlene Smokoska, Family Member Relocation Clearance coordinator, at (509) 247-5574, or Margaret Stalker, Special Needs coordinator, at (509) 247-2268.