FAA/HIMS Psychiatrist

The HIMS program is an occupational substance abuse treatment and monitoring program, specific to commercial pilots that coordinates the identification, treatment, and return to work process for affected aviators. It is an industry-wide effort in which managers, pilots, healthcare professionals, and the FAA work together to preserve careers and enhance air safety.

As part of his forensic services practice, Dr. Beech is qualified by the FAA to evaluate pilots with alcohol and other substance use and/or psychiatric issues. He is a “HIMS Psychiatrist.” Dr. Beech has attended the HIMS basic education seminars in 2014 and 2017 and the advanced topics education seminars in 2015, 2018 and 2019.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

How do I schedule an evaluation?

The first step is to complete, print, and sign this form: 
View Release Form

and then return the form to the office. The completed form can be scanned and sent by email to drbeech@douglasbeechmd.com, or sent via fax to 614-388-2200 or by regular mail to:

Douglas Beech, MD
6797 N. High St. Suite 327
Worthington, OH 43085

Once the form is received, it will be submitted to the FAA and Dr. Beech will be granted access to the applicant’s FAA medical file. This process usually takes between 7 and 10 days. After access and review of the file an in-person evaluation can be scheduled. After the examination, a report is forwarded to the airman’s aviation medical examiner. (In some circumstances the report is forwarded directly to the FAA.)

Does the psychiatrist make a determination of my medical certificate?

No. Only the FAA makes the determination of medical certification.  Dr. Beech will conduct the evaluation and complete a report. In the report he will render an opinion about diagnosis, treatment, and other observations as applicable and attempt to answer the FAA’s questions. The evaluation is conducted in part to address the questions according to the FAA’s standards and criteria. He will forward a report to the aviation medical examiner. The report will be one among many factors the FAA may consider to make their determination.

Does Dr. Beech perform psychological or neuropsychological testing?

No. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Beech performs the PSYCHIATRIC evaluation only. If psychological (or neuropsychological) evaluation has been recommended, the airman must also see a psychologist/neuropsychologist for that evaluation. Your letter from the FAA (and/or communication from your AME) will specify whether a psychiatric evaluation only is required, or both a psychiatric and psychological (“P & P”) evaluation are required.

My letter says I need to have my evaluation conducted by a forensic psychiatrist or one with forensic qualifications. Does Dr. Beech have forensic qualifications?

Yes.

What is the cost for an evaluation?

The average cost for the majority of evaluations is about $2500, with a range from $1750-$3500.  The fee is based on the total amount of time the evaluation takes and thus varies based on many factors, including the volume of documents, the complexity of the case history and number of issues in question, and the need for collateral interviewing. Evaluations that are conducted for an alcohol (or other substance) related issue only tend to be less costly. Those that involve psychiatric issues (such as depression, anxiety, diagnostic questions, special issuance) and/or forensic/legal issues tend to be more costly.

Why is a HIMS evaluation more costly than a clinical evaluation with a psychiatrist or other medical specialist?

This type of evaluation is conducted for a different purpose (a third party’s purpose) than a clinical evaluation (for treatment) and thus requires much more time. The process usually involves several hours of additional time beyond a typical evaluation for treatment. The HIMS evaluation requirements involve:

  • A more in-depth history and examination
  • Review of a higher volume of records
  • Additional time to complete a more extensive report
  • The interviewing of others with knowledge of the airman

What are the payment options?

Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card. Payment in full is required prior to submitting the final report. Credit cards are a mutually convenient option as it allows for the variability in cost. A deposit can be made at the time of the evaluation, then the balance of payment is due upon completion. In certain circumstances (such as an unusually high volume of records or a highly complex history), it is clear that the time commitment involved will be greater than the typical range. When this is known from the outset, the examinee may be asked to provide a retainer payment in advance in order to begin the work.

Will my health insurance cover the cost?

It is very unlikely. This type of professional service is not conducted for a treatment or health purpose for the insured individual; it is generally viewed as serving a third party’s purpose and therefore usually will not be covered by health insurance. The airman is certainly free to ask the health insurance company whether any portion of his or her payments will be reimbursable by the company.

Can a pilot see Dr. Beech for monitoring after a special issuance has been granted? Can a pilot see Dr. Beech for treatment?

While Dr. Beech can perform an evaluation and/or subsequent monitoring for reporting to the FAA, he does not provide treatment directly. For ethical and objectivity reasons, Dr. Beech does not combine the roles of treater and independent evaluator/monitor. Similarly, he can provide treatment, but does not provide any reporting or monitoring to the FAA for individuals that he is treating.