National Maritime Center officials say that on average more than 10% of the 50,000 applications received annually for medical certificates are missing information, causing delays in processing and frustration for mariners.
And on Feb. 14, the Maritime Center announced that a total of 7,882 “awaiting information” reasons were issued in 2021 for medical certificate applications. The NMC has said that it would not accept incomplete medical certificate applications.
The top reasons why mariners received an “awaiting information” letter include:
Visual acuity not meeting regulations as listed in the Merchant Marine Medical Manual Commandant Instruction Manual, in that additional tests were not provided when there was an abnormal vision exam.
Conditions listed in the Commandant Instruction Manual require a current written report from the treating provider documenting the current status of the condition, history of the condition frequency and severity of symptoms, treatment plan with all medications/side effects, ability to perform all tasks as listed and prognosis for performing safety sensitive merchant marine duties. Common conditions needing further documentation include diabetes, sleep apnea, substance abuse, heart condition and seizure disorder.
A number of other reasons why the medical certificate applications were deemed incomplete range from mediations or conditions not explained or comments on and required tests being incompletely documented to missing height weight, pulse rate and/or blood pressure and inappropriate color vision testing
Those with questions regarding completing of the medical certificate application may contact the NMC Help Desk at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).