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Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 4 years ago

I was Diagnosed with GERD, and put on Zantac for one month. I am hoping to join the military, but GERD is disqualifying. Do I need surgery?

Update:

Forgot to add: I have been off the Zantac for awhile now, and my GERD doesn't interfere with any activities. Do I have to go to MEPS first before the waiver, or can I just get the all clear from the doctor and have that on my medical record. Thanks!

Update 2:

Thanks for the answer, but correct me if I'm wrong. I read that GERD is normally waiverable, as long as you aren't on medication anymore and doctor checks you out. Are you saying that I need surgery in order to get a waiver?

Update 3:

Thanks for the answer, but correct me if I'm wrong. I read that GERD is normally waiverable, as long as you aren't on medication anymore and doctor checks you out. Are you saying that I need surgery in order to get a waiver?

1 Answer

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  • Jason
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    "Do I have to go to MEPS first before the waiver, or can I just get the all clear from the doctor and have that on my medical record."

    EVERYONE goes to the MEPS first. To get a waiver you first have to be evaluated by MEPS. They then DQ you for a given condition and your recruiter then submits a waiver (if waivers for that condition are authorized).

    The regulations governing medical clearance are federal law. There is no civilian doc in the world whose opinion overcomes federal law. A mountain of letters from a herd of civilian docs doesn't mean anything to the MEPS -- because civilian docs are not evaluating you according to the military regulation. They are evaluating you as compared to someone without your condition. That's not the same thing at all.

    From the guiding regulation (edited for clarity):

    "a. Esophagus. Current or history of esophageal disease, including, but not limited to... ...Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) (530.81), or complications from GERD... ...does not meet the standard.

    ...History of surgical correction for GERD within 6 months does not meet the standard. (P42 esophageal correction, P43 stomach correction and P45 intestinal correction.)"

    A history of GERD is disqualifying. It doesn't have to interfere with activity. The history alone is sufficient for the DQ. If you have surgery to correct it, you are DQ'd for six months following surgery after which you can be evaluated for a waiver.

    EDIT:

    As I read the regulation, a history of GERD is a DQ. It doesn't say anything either way about GERD that is not symptomatic or requires medication. It states the history is a DQ. It then further describes surgery for GERD as only a DQ for the six months following surgery.

    Reading regulations is a bit of an art. With medical conditions, they come in a few flavors: Some are an outright DQ that cannot be waived. Some are a DQ *unless* you meet certain conditions. Some are *not* a DQ unless you meet certain conditions. For example:

    A history of self-harm is an outright DQ. That can't be waived no matter what. There is no exception provided in the regulation.

    A history of ADHD is a DQ *unless* the applicant has been off of medication for 12 months and has transcripts demonstrating passing academic performance during that period. So in that case, the applicant is DQ'd for the condition, meets the exceptions in the regulation, and applies for a waiver under those exceptions.

    A history of a heart murmur is not a DQ *unless* the murmur is the result of a valve disorder. In that case, the applicant is not DQ'd unless their examination demonstrates a problem with one or more heart valves.

    So as I read the regulation on GERD it seems to fit into that second category. It's a DQ unless you can demonstrate the exception in the regulation. As far as I can tell, the exception granted is for surgical correction of GERD and not for other types of management like medication. Here's the unedited section:

    "a. Esophagus. Current or history of esophageal disease, including, but not limited to ulceration, varices, fistula, achalasia, or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) (530.81), or complications from GERD including stricture, or maintenance on acid suppression medication, or other dysmotility disorders; chronic, or recurrent esophagitis (530.1), does not meet the standard."

    So it defines "current or history of" GERD as a DQ; whether you take medications or not. The one exception it makes is:

    "History of surgical correction for GERD within 6 months does not meet the standard. (P42 esophageal correction, P43 stomach correction and P45 intestinal correction.)"

    So it DOES allow for surgical correction as long as it's been more than six months since the surgery.

    So as I read the reg, you are DQ for service unless you have surgery for it and wait the requisite six months. If the MEPS docs read that regulation differently, well, that's what counts. I've read a whole bunch of regulations in my time and that's how I read that one.

    .

    Source(s): Former USAF flight medic; worked MEPS
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