Section II. HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL EVALUATION
PRECEDING PHYSICAL DISABILITY ACTION
5-11. OPTIMAL HOSPITAL IMPROVEMENT AND SEPARATION
Definitive medical care is not provided to service members requiring prolonged
hospitalization if they are unlikely to return to active duty. The time at which a member
should be processed for disability retirement or separation is determined on an individual
basis, taking into consideration the interest of both the Government and the member.
However, a member is neither retained nor separated solely for the purpose of increasing
retirement or separation benefits. A member who is medically unfit and not likely to return
to duty is processed for disability retirement or separation when it is determined that the
member has achieved optimum hospital improvement for disposition purposes. Subject to
the requirements noted below, a member whose normal scheduled date of non-disability
separation occurs during the course of hospitalization, with the member's consent, may be
retained in the service until he has achieved optimal hospital improvement. If otherwise
eligible, the member is processed under the Army physical disability evaluation system.
a. No member is retained on active duty past the date set by statute or regulation
for mandatory retirement or separation without the approval of Headquarters, Department
of the Army.
b. The hospital commander concerned must notify Headquarters, Department of
the Army of the circumstances and the requirement for retention of a member beyond the
scheduled non-disability separation date, and he must request necessary orders or
5-12. DETERMINATION OF THE NEED FOR MEDICAL E VALUATION
a. Referral by Commander. When a commander believes that a member of the
command is unfit to perform the duties of his office, grade, rank, or rating because of
physical or mental disability, the commander refers him for examination to the medical
treatment facility providing primary medical care to the command. The commander must
put this request for examination in writing and state his reasons for believing the member to
be physically unfit. DD Form 689 (Individual Sick Slip) is used whenever possible.
b. Medical Officer's Responsibility. The medical officer who has primary
responsibility for medical care must promptly examine the individual for evaluation. The
officer reports the results of the examination and disposition to the member's commander.
If the member appears to be medically unqualified to perform duty or does not meet the
criteria for medical fitness for retention, he is referred to a medical board.