PHA’s: Not just a physical health assessment

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Johnson
  • 39th Medical Group commander
The dreaded Physical Health Assessment is nothing more than a once a year waste of time with a so-called "physical," right?

Physical Health Assessments are not another medical "thing," they are personal responsibilities and operational requirements.

Well, on the surface it may seem so, but the PHA carries with it a great number of consequences and the process is continuously changing. For instance, the new electronic, web-based health risk assessment is accomplished through the internet either from your work computer or at home.

It's a vast improvement over the previous 8-10 questions Airmen had to answer on paper when they reported to their PHA. Also, the e-HRA must be done prior to reporting to the appointment.

In fact, every Airman, except for personal reliability program members, will be required to accomplish this before they can make their PHA appointment. Folks on PRP must do the e-HRA at their appointment, which means their appointment will take longer.

The e-HRA has a built-in sophisticated artificial intelligence that will react and automatically change the direction of questioning based on the member's responses. In the end, the healthcare provider will be better able to detect problems, answer questions, predict - and therefore preempt - future health concerns.

Yes, it may take a little more time; yes, it may feel intrusive; yes, it may be a little embarrassing at times, but being fully forthcoming and honest will pay you back a thousand times over. You will get a better "physical." You will get more accurate information, more recommendations and perhaps new therapies you may not have heard before.

Most importantly, document all problems you are having so that in the future, they can be considered in whatever event or condition may arise. I am not sure everyone is aware that the e-HRA questionnaire is an official statement. Non-disclosure of a known condition is a claim that the condition does not exist or does not cause a problem. Without the disclosure, the military has established a "presumption of fitness" and assumes you are fit, healthy and without any problems. Therefore, any disability claim in the future could be compromised. It is much better to be fully truthful in the questionnaire and risk embarrassment than to miss out on potential compensation.

For the immediate future, the 39th Medical Group needs your assistance. When receiving a notification via email, be prompt, truthful and forthcoming because it helps us help you. It will also help the 39th Air Base Wing. The wing is not looking good in some of our readiness statistics and PHA non-currency is the number one contributing issue.

I'm looking forward to earning our goal day, and completing our PHAs on time will help. If you have suggestions on how we can better do this or inputs about anything medical, please contact me or my staff directly.