Jul 27, 2016
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All right bear with me... I'm pretty flabbergasted after the call I received today from the HPSP recruiter I have been working with for several months.

To set the scene: I will be starting my first year in osteopathic medical school in 1 week. I had been planning on doing the Air Force HPSP and was working with a recruiting office based out of Aurora, CO.

On April 25, 2016, (approx. 5 months before the start of med school) I receive the wonderful e-mail:

"Congratulations on your selection for the Air Force Health
Professions Scholarship Program! I've attached the letter of acceptance in
this email. Please review it, sign, and send back to me. Please change the
date to the estimated date of completion from medical school. Call if you
have any questions or concerns."​

This is great news! I signed the form immediately. It was the official letter for acceptance and the wording is as follows:

"It is a pleasure to inform you that you have been selected for a commission in the United States Air

Force MC Health Professions Scholarship Program pursuing a doctorate in Medicine with an

expected completion date of June 30, 2020.

Please sign the acknowledgment below and return it as soon as possible in order to initiate the

commissioning paperwork. We look forward to having you on our Air Force team."

I held on to that letter for nearly 5 months... as if it were gold. My fate was sealed. But one week before school is starting and the head of their office (MSgt. Brett Diaz, FYI) called me today and said I had been rejected due to medical reasons (I had LASIK surgery but the recruiter said it's usually not a problem, I also had surgery on my leg as a kid but it has never been a problem growing up, I competed in NCAA swimming, even.) But those were the reasons he is now disclosing to me... at this stage, super late in the game.

Now, this is quite upsetting. At this point, I had thought, with only one week before school, that all my ducks in a row, no need to worry about applying for FinAid and I can go ahead and rely on the stipend to supplement my ability to pay rent and groceries from here on out. I had the scholarship letter and everything!

Well that's not the case anymore.

I am not so much as upset as confused. No point in being angry anyway: I am going to med school one way or another. I will make it through and be confident in my abilities. But something very odd happened here and I intend to find out what exactly happened at this office.

Firstly, my specific recruiter was not the cream of the crop. I think I'd be doing a service to anyone here who is thinking about AF HPSP to at least know who this person is. I will not degrade his character as a person, nor am I trying to jeopardize his career in the Air Force, but I will report on what I had observed.

His name is TSgt James Mikus and he's based out of Aurora, Colorado, Health Professions Recruiting. He is very friendly and helped me with the application when I originally applied. I believe the week that I dropped in at his office to apply was also the very first week of his exerience in recruiting for HPSP, so he's a bit new.

He's also the recruiter that personally e-mailed me the acceptance for the scholarship, so I see him as personally responsible for holding to that written contract as it was offered above, yet now being withdrawn.

I don't think I am being rejected for the reasons that they say (medical). This late in the game, I think someone in that office made a mistake or lost my application (TSgt. Mikus) and the cover-up is that they hoped to call me, withdraw the offer, and that would be the end of it. No questions asked on my end... hopefully.

Well I have questions...

And here's why I think this is some kind of cover-up:
  • TSgt. Mikus was incredibly disorganized or forgetful with my file. I think I must have signed and turned in the same forms over and over again as he requested because he kept losing them or something. I didn't want to come off as a pain in the butt to them so I would just keep filling them out. The guy couldn't keep track of anything. He was not well-suited for HPSP.
  • My medical records were sent to his office, but under a different recruiter's name. I think he just left the records sitting on a desk without even opening them for a long time. Nearly 2 months went by and he asked me constantly if I had obtained my medical records and could bring them to him. I could only tell him "They should be there by now"... I had to gently suggest he try opening any packages they might have received that weren't actually addressed to him and he finally found it (took him only 2 minutes). My app must have been running 2 months behind because of that oversight.
  • One way or another, he offered me the scholarship. It was offered. It was signed. It was a done deal... from my eyes. Now with one week to go until school, I am desperate for answers.
Has anyone had any experience with this? Any suggestions?

I am a cordial person, I have understanding and goodwill. I very courteously emailed my recruiter's supervisor (MSgt. Diaz) and asked for his supervisor's contact info. I think if I need to bring this to someone's attention, I should not let this office sweep my acceptance letter under the rug as if it had not been offered. Someone high up needs to know that either these guys should not be offering scholarship letters so soon and then dashing out the hopes and dreams of med students right before they matriculate.

At any rate, I am not sure what else I can do, I can move on quickly, but I wanted to hear from what folks in this forum might say.

I have half a mind to think that I just got a dud recruiter and need to restart the app with a competent person. At this point, I would have to do the 3-yr HPSP. Might even GO NAVY!

Sorry for being TLDR... At best I was hoping to bring this to someone's attention, let the AF know they need to make improvements in this office in Aurora before they end up screwing someone else's life before med school.

Happy to answer any question... thx for reading...
 

HighPriest

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I don't know about the AF, but the experience you had with your recruiter is basically every day of my life in the Army. You're probably spot on that it was a series of screw ups, oversights, and lack of attention to detail. Good luck to you either way.
 
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CaliMedStudent16
Jul 27, 2016
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I don't know about the AF, but the experience you had with your recruiter is basically every day of my life in the Army. You're probably spot on that it was a series of screw ups, oversights, and lack of attention to detail. Good luck to you either way.
Right on, thank you, sir, and good luck to you as well.
 

IlDestriero

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It's a blessing in disguise. Take loans like everyone else and don't look back. If you want to join later, there are other programs available for residency or commissioning after completion of training.
He didn't offer you a real contract BTW, the contract is 10 or so pages, very specific, etc. You're committing to joining the armed forces for 8 years. It's quite specific. You also never commissioned, where you take the oath, get a t-shirt and water bottle, etc. What you signed sounds like some generic BS letter that the recruiters send out to try to make you think you're committed to the scholarship so you don't back out when the time comes to raise your right hand and sign on the dotted line.
I'm surprised that you trusted this dunce with your application after he repeatedly showed you his incompetence. If you do go on to join, as alluded to above, get used to this level of incompetence with critical things on a regular basis.
I did a 3 year scholarship with the Navy. It all worked out for me, just be aware that's not really the norm. The .mil puts up roadblocks, etc. and you have to be able to adapt and overcome.
Good luck.


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CaliMedStudent16
Jul 27, 2016
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I'm surprised that you trusted this dunce with your application after he repeatedly showed you his incompetence. If you do go on to join, as alluded to above, get used to this level of incompetence with critical things on a regular basis.
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Il Destriero
Thx for the words. Appreciate your thoughts. Yeah, I knew the guy was no good I just thought if I kept jumping through the hoops it would all get settled on the other end but I think it screwed me. I think I'll take your advice and tolerate the loans. Thx again.
 

WernickeDO

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This is life in the military. Wander into any S1 office (basically the HR of your unit) and usually your personal information will be laid out on some 19 year old's desk...SSN, DOB, home address. Anyone could come along and snatch your identity. You learn to make multiple physical and digital copies of everything because you count on someone losing your paperwork.

You're not wrong for outing your incompetent recruiter, just don't think that there will be any accountability for someone screwing you over. The MSG will find some way to bury this and your recruiter will just keep on trucking.

Take this as a sign. The military does not care about you, about your medical career, or about the fact that you need to now scramble to figure out financial aid instead of enjoying the last few days of freedom you will have for the next year. This sort of thing only becomes more common the further you move along and it will always cost you time and money with no one being held accountable. That's how the military does business. You have dodged a bullet here my friend. Run, run away from the military, take the loans, never look back.

That said, I am sorry that you are having to deal with this now. Just know that the headache now will save you from a subarachnoid hemorrhage in 4 years.
 

pgg

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The .mil is so damn incompetant with paperwork it amazes me that ever won any wars.... Try a different branch/recruiter or take the loans. Sorry
It's a testament to the incompetence of our enemies, and the ability of E5s to get things done when their bosses are preoccupied with online fire extinguisher training.
 
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CaliMedStudent16
Jul 27, 2016
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Thx y'all, very supportive. No apologies necessary though, I am not trying to throw a pity party :)

I was given the impression that it was a done deal and that I'd have a scholarship. It's not a big deal that it's not the case, but maybe a little more "heads-up" would be nice instead of going through the whole summer thinking that I am solid, no need to apply to FinAid and my parents were all crying at how proud they were, LOL.

I just couldn't imagine that they would convince somebody to join and nearly wreck their life by making them feel secure with the resources they were "promising" to shell out. But I think it is this rare instance... I got a really, really, really bad egg out of TSgt. James Mikus (I'm sure there's tons of bad eggs out there but this one is awful) and his incompetency in processing my application ultimately led them to just forget about it. Too bad, I thought I was a decent candidate.

Med school starts on Monday, though, that's the real thing to worry about so I'll let it go and move along.
 

HighPriest

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It's a testament to the incompetence of our enemies, and the ability of E5s to get things done when their bosses are preoccupied with online fire extinguisher training.
True this
 

HighPriest

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I just couldn't imagine that they would convince somebody to join and nearly wreck their life by making them feel secure with the resources they were "promising" to shell out.
No? There's a whole thread about this regarding changes to incentive pay. It never stops.
 
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Shikima

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The beatings will continue until morale improved.

The moral of learned helplessness.
 

backrow

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I doubt this is as "sinister" as it appears. My bet is this is just like what happens with ROTC scholarships except those folks can be up to 1-2 years into the scholarship prior to having the rug pulled for medical issues.

The scholarship decision and medical suitability for Service are two different entities and it is entirely possible to be offered the scholarship prior to clearing the medical side. Once the medical side decides they aren't suitable the scholarship offer is then rescinded.

My guess is within all that paperwork the OP signed is some clause that says something along the lines of "offer may be rescinded if not commissionable" and that's just what happened.

Now whether the issues as presented should be waivered is a different discussion along with the professionalism issues.


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Jul 5, 2016
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Hmm, I'm sorry this happened to you. Recruiters can either make your life miserable or make everything better. When I went to the MEPS facility for medical in-processing to accept my HPSP scholarship, everyone there was clueless as to what HPSP was. I was the only one there mixed in with a large number of fresh enlisted recruits that were headed straight to boot camp that same day. They thought I was going with them! Anyways long story short, I ended up telling the doctors I had all these random medical issues and they wanted more information / said I failed the medical portion, and that they wanted me to provide medical records up to 10 years back. I left the MEPS facility, called my recruiter, told him what happened and said I wasn't going to go back there and that I made up all that medical stuff to get out of being sent to boot camp (they were legitimately trying to send me with all the enlisted airmen straight to bootcamp!). He sorted it for me and I didn't have to go back there or fill any paperwork and my file was approved.

As to how to help you I'm not quite sure. But if you need someone to help with medical school and things like that feel free to send me a PM.

Best,
SRWOLFE
 

pgg

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LOL, getting railroaded into boot camp sounds like the plot to a lower-than-usual budget Pauly Shore movie.
 

Mad Jack

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Thx y'all, very supportive. No apologies necessary though, I am not trying to throw a pity party :)

I was given the impression that it was a done deal and that I'd have a scholarship. It's not a big deal that it's not the case, but maybe a little more "heads-up" would be nice instead of going through the whole summer thinking that I am solid, no need to apply to FinAid and my parents were all crying at how proud they were, LOL.

I just couldn't imagine that they would convince somebody to join and nearly wreck their life by making them feel secure with the resources they were "promising" to shell out. But I think it is this rare instance... I got a really, really, really bad egg out of TSgt. James Mikus (I'm sure there's tons of bad eggs out there but this one is awful) and his incompetency in processing my application ultimately led them to just forget about it. Too bad, I thought I was a decent candidate.

Med school starts on Monday, though, that's the real thing to worry about so I'll let it go and move along.
If you're the sort of person that gets bent out of shape over incompetence, changing terms, and getting shafted, the military really isn't for you anyway.

^ probably the most common meme I see in my enlisted friends' fb feeds
 
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dpmd

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If you're the sort of person that gets bent out of shape over incompetence, changing terms, and getting shafted, the military really isn't for you anyway.

^ probably the most common meme I see in my enlisted friends' fb feeds
This is SO true. The type of response that goes with military service best is to find out some way to work around the rejection while simultaneously feeling responsible for the issue.
 
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Jul 5, 2016
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LOL, getting railroaded into boot camp sounds like the plot to a lower-than-usual budget Pauly Shore movie.
Right.. On top of that add that I slept with my contacts in the night before and got a corneal ulcer. THE ENTIRE time at MEPS I had one eye shut, tearing, burning and red. When I got home 8 hours later I went straight to the ER at my med school hospital. Moxifloxacin eye drops q1hour for days... What a fun time!
 

Kingfisher

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To the OP,

I think your frustration might be directed at the wrong person. The acceptance letters are not generated by his office and the ultimate decision, thankfully, does NOT lie on the shoulders of the recruiter. Likely there was some miscommunication between offices higher up. There was paperwork that likely got lost for a while and was found at the worst time for you. Usually when there is a rejection for medical reasons there can be an opportunity for waivers, in certain circumstances. Now this is coming from someone more familiar with the Navy than the AF. I don't know all the specifics of the AF paperwork process but here are my thoughts:

The DOD pays out a LOT of money to separated (medically or otherwise) service members. I know from personal experience that when someone is about to exit the service, there is a huge attempt across the board to list every single sniffle and every headache that ever happened in an attempt to make sure they get every single cent of disability. Now to reduce this burden, the services have tightened down the initial waiver process because if we can avoid the folks who potentially have medical problems on the front end, the hope is the burden on the back end would be lessened. Now this strict review process can be altered if the need for physicians is greater. The need to get AF physicians is very low. Traditionally the AF recruiters do not have to work too hard to keep people from knocking down their doors. They have enjoyed having MANY more applicants than they have spots available. Usually much more so than Navy or Army. This was true even in the lean years from 10 years ago. You may very well be a great candidate but there was probably a pile of other people with similar qualifications who didn't have medical issues listed on their applications. I don't know for sure if the AF has a waiver process or not but they can afford to be a little more selective.

Likely your medical disqualification was somehow not communicated the right way. Someone did screw up with that communication but it likely was not the recruiter.

Best of luck in the future.
 
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deuist

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I'm curious as to why you are so adamant to join the military. Have you read any of the threads here on the Student Doctor Network? For most people, the negatives far outweigh the positives and most of us would advise you to take out student loans and never look back.
 
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CaliMedStudent16
Jul 27, 2016
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To the OP,

Likely your medical disqualification was somehow not communicated the right way. Someone did screw up with that communication but it likely was not the recruiter.
I'm not frustrated that I was medically disqualified... that's all well and fine. It's the timeframe...

I'm frustrated that they offered a scholarship, I accepted, and then 4 days before school starts they withdraw the offer for alleged medical reasons. I had Lasik eye surgery... easy waiver.

I don't think I was "medically disqualified" as they say... that's just the reason they made up to cover the inadequacies of TSgt Mikus (who is now out of that office, I believe, for being a poor performer)and then it was too late and they have this incomplete HPSP file but they already offered me the scholarship... well, let's just say sorry and say he's medically disqualified.

I hate sounding like a conspiracy theorist but nobody has told me that they've heard a case of this happening before. TSgt Mikus lost my app (probably 3 times somehow), got removed from the office, his supervisor MSgt Diaz had to be the one to call me 4 days before class and make up a medical disqualification and hope I didn't ask too many questions.

If anyone has an example of being withdrawn the scholarship offer within 1 week of starting school, I would love to hear how/why, then I will calm down on all this conspiracy crap!! LOL
 

backrow

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If anyone has an example of being withdrawn the scholarship offer within 1 week of starting school, I would love to hear how/why, then I will calm down on all this conspiracy crap!! LOL
Go back and read my post and the other one about how the medical side and the scholarship side are two different pieces of the puzzle.

If you want proof ask to see the paper trail. There is always a paper trail and the people who made the decision to reject you certainly didn't only call the recruiting office and tell them, but also sent a letter or some other written communication.


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CaliMedStudent16
Jul 27, 2016
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Go back and read my post...

If you want proof ask to see the paper trail. There is always a paper trail.../QUOTE]

Thx, but go back and read my post as well... there is no paper trail because TSgt Mikus lost everything so many times. I have asked to see the paper trail. They're not responding.
 

IlDestriero

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As I said earlier, I don't think that you were ever offered the scholarship.


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CaliMedStudent16
Jul 27, 2016
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As I said earlier, I don't think that you were ever offered the scholarship.


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Il Destriero
Would it help if you all examined the offer letter? I tried putting exact words of the letter in original post, maybe if you all see the letterhead and such you can better judge for yourselves what exactly I received.
 

IlDestriero

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Was it from the recruiter or the Department of the Navy. My guess is that the recruiter sent you some BS. They wouldn't offer you the scholarship if you were not medically cleared. They wouldn't even review you until your application was complete, which it wouldn't be without a medical waver.
Did they ever tell you to schedule your commissioning ceremony, swearing in, and signing the contract? I think I did that in early March.


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Il Destriero
 
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Vandalia

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Not to be cruel, but this is what happens.

I am not saying this is necessarily the case, but when the military is over-committed with personnel, it uses the medical process to "let people down gently." Example: When the Cold War ended, and the "peace dividend" came around, the services had too many people in the commissioning pipeline. The word went out to drop as many on medical grounds as possible. One relative had her AFROTC scholarship revoked because "she had a history of acne as a teenager, which might interfere with an oxygen mask if she was selected to be a pilot." The requirements are written in such a way that you can disqualify anyone if you look hard enough.

As far as records and identity theft, up until relatively recently, a physician's SSAN was stamped on every medical record he signed. I imagine there are probably about 20,000 people who have my SSAN stamped on their military medical records. Not to mention things like OPR's, enlisted evals, decoration orders, etc., etc., which also had the full social security numbers.
 
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Lets_Run

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I live in the Denver metro area and will be applying HPSP soon. Is the Aurora branch you mentioned the only health professions recruiting office in the area? Additionally, I plan to move away from the area in December - only to return to school again in July. Was also hoping to get LASIK prior to matriculating. Any idea how to navigate?