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SEATTLE - (Sept. 23, 2010) - Virginia Mason Federal Way clinic's Dennis Rochier, MD, an internal medicine specialist, is now offering additional appointments, many on the same day, for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical examinations. These exams are required for pilots, student pilots, air traffic control specialists and others.
 
Rochier received senior status as an FAA-designated aviation medical examiner in July due to his accuracy rating with qualifying or disqualifying applicants. He is now available to perform medical examinations for all FAA Class 1-3 exams, which include commercial, private and student pilot exams, as well as air traffic controllers.
 
An FAA exam is required for pilots at regular intervals depending on what type of license is held. Commercial airline pilots must be examined every six months. Intervals for private pilot exams range from two to five years depending on the pilot's age. The exam is much like a Department of Transportation driving exam, emphasizing vision and hearing but also includes screening for any condition that might lead to temporary incapacity while operating an aircraft. Medical examination requirements are determined by the FAA.
 
As health technology advances, the FAA has allowed more pilots with chronic conditions to fly because health care providers can assure the condition will not incapacitate the pilot. Currently, there are even a handful of pilots in the U.S. now flying with transplanted hearts, a condition that would have permanently grounded them five years ago.
 
Rochier is a private pilot rated for single engine, land with high-performance endorsement. He flies out of Auburn, Wash., and is a member of Airplane Owners & Pilots Association.
 
"It's important to me as a physician and pilot to help ensure aviators are safe and healthy," said Rochier. "That's why I've taken steps to open my schedule to offer convenient appointments. With a streamlined approach, I can quickly and thoroughly complete an individual's essential FAA medical examination and get them back in flight."
 
For appointment instructions and FAA requirements, visit VirginiaMason.org/FAAexams.
 
About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Chronic Care Management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit Facebook/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

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