Posted: 12:46 am PT
We previously blogged about the ongoing problems encountered by Foreign Service families with special needs children when dealing with the State Department’s Bureau of Medical Services (MED) (see @StateDept’s Mental Health Services Drive Employees with Special Needs #FSKids Nuts). Note that as employees prepare for the summer job rotation, MED will be reviewing the medical clearances of employees and family members in preparation for their transfer. Whatever is the number that is now stuck in MED’s labyrinth, expect that number to go up with the upcoming rotations as kids with special needs are snared in the system that is supposed to help but instead has caused so much disruption and pain.
We understand that medical clearance decisions can be appealed to a panel of three doctors. But we’ve been informed that one of the three in this review panel is the reviewing officer of the the other two. We’d like to know how many cases that come before this review panel are decided in complete agreement by all panel members, and how many cases are decided by the two panel members against the decision of the third panel member/rating official? Perhaps something for the congressional oversight panels to look into? Or something to FOIA if this is going the class action route.
Congress should also look into State’s Medical Services perspective on risk. Would it surprise us all if State/MED doesn’t want to take any? State/MED’s mission is “to safeguard and promote the health and well-being of America’s diplomatic community.” Does that mean keep everyone with the slightest issue inside the United States instead of sending them on overseas assignments? Bad things can happen just the same in the United States – but of course, MED won’t be responsible when employees are on domestic assignments. It is responsible once employees/family members are overseas. So again, what is State/MED’s perspective on risk, and how much does this inform its decision on the medical clearances issued to FS employees, spouses and their kids?
FP’s Robbie Gramer recently had a lengthy piece on FS families in State’s medical labyrinth. It is quite a read, and don’t miss the quotes.
On #WorldAutismAwarenessDay, read my deep-dive into how the State Department is tearing apart families of diplomats who have children with autism, down syndrome, other special needs, mental health issues https://t.co/v3cMFP7Rsj
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) April 2, 2018
When a diplomat based overseas fought to have his youngest daughter brought to his post, he received veiled threats about the future of his career at the State Department. https://t.co/C4TqzS6WyA pic.twitter.com/5qWC0Rxf9R
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) April 2, 2018
— Kelsey D. Atherton (@AthertonKD) April 2, 2018