What is the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners?
Beginning on May 21, 2014 all Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers and carriers will be required to have medical examinations performed by a Certified Medical Examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Congress mandated that the FMCSA research who was performing truck driver’s medical exams, and the new registry is the result of this study. The new rule is designed to make sure medical examiners are trained on FMCSA regulations and physical standards of the truck driving industry. In the past, any licensed professional could certify a commercial driver for physical qualification.
FMCSA Certified Medical Examiners
Medical examiners will go through an FMCSA training program and, once completed, will take an exam to become FMCSA-certified and listed on the registry. Truck drivers and carriers are able to get their medical exam anywhere, not necessarily their home state, but they must get an exam every two years. After the May 21 deadline, all interstate CMV drivers must be re-examined by a certified medical examiner to get their medical certificate, once it has expired. It’s important to note the FMCSA is not dictating the medical exam fees, each medical examiners is in charge of pricing.
The FMCSA hopes to have more than 40,000 examiners in the registry by the May 21 deadline. Currently only 25,000 medical examiners are in the process of being certified and added to the registry. The FMCSA says that the full 40,000 will not be needed by May 21, since not all drivers will need recertification at that time. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which represents approximately 150,000 small business trucking professionals including company drivers and independent contractors, is concerned about the availability of medical examiners and has filed a petition to delay the compliance date until more medical examiners can be added.
OOIDA worries that some truck drivers will not be able to recertify before their current certification expires. If too few physicians join the registry, truck drivers may have to go hundreds of miles out of their way to get their required medical certification and may face longer wait times at the office. They are asking that truck drivers be allowed to get medical certification from medical examiners that are qualified under the new rules, but not yet on the FMCSA registry.
To find an FMCSA-registered doctor, drivers and carriers should visit the FMCSA website. Drivers and carriers can search by zip code, state or examiner name, and then choose a certified medical examiner from the list to make an appointment. If a driver’s or carrier’s preferred health care professional isn’t on the list, drivers and carriers can refer him or her to the Certified Medical Examiners page to learn more about getting certified.