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New Periodic Health Assessment coming in March

February 08, 2018

Written by Cmdr. Shane Steiner, Chief of Preventive Medicine, CG-1121

In March 2018, the Coast Guard will begin using a new version of the Periodic Health Assessment (PHA) for military personnel.

The PHA is the main tool medical personnel use to assess the medical readiness of the workforce and has been in use since 2005. The current version of the PHA uses the Fleet Health Risk Assessment, which is the same health questionnaire used by the Navy and Marine Corps. While it’s been a good start, medical evidence has come a long way in the last 13 years, and so a new questionnaire is needed.

The new PHA will be the same one used by all the other military services. The new PHA questionnaire is longer than the old one, but it’s more thorough, too. Like the current health questionnaire, the new version must be done online. It also includes a mental health questionnaire, which supports the president’s emphasis on improving mental health of all service members.

The updated assessment will also include a meeting between you and a medical officer or civilian physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner, to ensure that your questions are answered, the right preventive services are offered, and that any of your ongoing medical needs are addressed.

Although you will still need to do a PHA every 12 months, PHAs will no longer be tied to your birth month. Instead, the first PHA will be done in the first 12 months after accession, and from then on can be done up to six months early to take into account deployments/sea duty and to allow units to synchronize PHAs if they wish.

In his 2017 State of the Coast Guard Address, Adm. Zukunft said, “We must invest to restore our military readiness.” The new PHA is part of improving our capability and capacity to be “Always Ready.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Erin Hunter, a health service technician aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, measures Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Martin’s heart rate during a physical health assessment while underway near Kodiak, Alaska, Aug. 28, 2014. Health service technicians administer to basic medical needs and maintain health records for Coast Guard personnel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert)

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