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A Retrospective Review of Screening Labs for Medical Clearance in a Military Population.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Undetermined

Release Date/Publication: November 01, 2015

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Other Clinical

Secondary DoD Data Source:


We determine the incidence of clinically significant findings within mandatory screening studies during medical clearance of patients for psychiatric care.

This is a retrospective review of emergency department patients medically cleared for psychiatric care over 11 months. All patients evaluated for behavioral health-related issues are recorded on a daily report which was used to locate subjects. Laboratory studies were reviewed during that visit for the presence of abnormalities. If abnormalities were noted, the individual chart was reviewed. Our primary outcome was the incidence of clinically significant findings that warranted admission to a medical or surgical unit.

204 psychiatric patient reports were reviewed. 191 of these patients had screening studies performed. Seven patients were admitted to a nonpsychiatric unit. These admissions were all for elevated ethanol levels. These patients were admitted until their ethanol level decreased, and then transferred to a psychiatric facility. The total screening lab cost during this study period was $27,893.

Routine screening has limited utility in this population and comes at significant cost. Further research should be directed to determine which patients may benefit from screening studies.


Schauer SG, Goolsby CA. A Retrospective Review of Screening Labs for Medical Clearance in a Military Population. Mil Med. 2015 Nov;180(11):1128-31.

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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