An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | March 25, 2024

USMEPCOM Pilot Reengineers Medical Prescreens

By Derrik Noack

On March 19, USMEPCOM launched a new pilot, reengineering the medical prescreening process for military applicants. Six Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) will pilot the program for 60 days and gather data to enhance the recently developed process before potentially rolling it out to other locations.  

The new process allows MEPS staff 24 hours to do a preliminary check of an applicant’s health record to check the number of documents available to review. Applicants with 15 or fewer encounters related to potentially disqualifying conditions are authorized to come to the MEPS in the next 48 hours. Those encounters (visits to the doctor, prescription renewals, telehealth visits, etc.) will be reviewed during the medical examination. MEPS medical staff have 10 days to review prescreens for applicants with 16 or more encounters.

“Never before has an applicant been able to have medical conditions, disclose them, and come in two days later,” said Dr. Laurence Batmazian, Buffalo MEPS chief medical officer (CMO). “The idea here is that, if the volume of data is small enough that we can process it same day with the person here, then we should do that. Before, they would wait at home for us to process it and then come in.”

Applicants who strive to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces all undergo processing at their local MEPS. Before the medical exam portion of processing, applicants’ health records are prescreened. The 2022 rollout of MHS GENESIS provided access to authoritative medical histories and therefore a deeper well of information to review.

“At the MEPS, we act as a screening service,” said Batmazian. “We basically make a list of anything that’s happened to an applicant medically and summarize that for the benefit of the Armed Forces. If there’s anything in that list that’s disqualifying, then we send that to the waiver authority for a holistic review. We are not changing the standards at all; we are solely changing that prescreen workflow.”

USMEPCOM has been in a state of process change since the introduction of MHS GENESIS, looking to solutions in reducing timelines for applicants, recruiters and MEPS personnel. While Artificial Intelligence is currently being developed to assist personnel reviewing medical information, updated policies, virtual capabilities and added personnel have been utilized to tackle the increased workload. (Read more about the AI initiative here

“Medical modernization using MHS GENESIS has profoundly changed MEPS processing,” said Dr. Gary Fagin, former MEPS Chief Medical Officer (CMO) who now serves on the USMEPCOM Innovation Facilitation Team (IFT) leading this pilot. “Adjustments to the prescreen process are needed to increase efficiency and predictability for applicants, recruiters and MEPS personnel.”

The six MEPS testing the pilot include Atlanta, Buffalo, Cleveland, Houston, Salt Lake City and Spokane. For the launch, experts from USMEPCOM HQ traveled to the MEPS to get insights and provide support as needed.

“We are really engaged with this,” said Dawn Yoshii, management and program analyst, J-3, who traveled to Buffalo MEPS for the pilot. “Being boots on the ground for two weeks lets us see the impact live. We are tracking feedback and any bumps in the road with daily meetings.” 

Preliminary data shows more than 60% of prescreens will have 15 or fewer encounters and be cleared to process in 48 hours. The IFT will evaluate data weekly to determine if further expansion and/or suspension of the pilot is necessary.

“We all have the expectation that this is going to be successful,” said Fagin. “It shortens timelines and increases efficiency not just for the MEPS, but for recruiters and applicants as well.”