FMCSA Asks 14,000 Medical Examiners to Post Missing Results
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Six months after a critical Department of Transportation inspector general audit, federal regulators are asking an estimated 14,000 medical examiners to submit the missing results of truck driver exams they conducted during a seven-month outage of the federal National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners due to an attempted hack.
In a formal request for information, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it has found that a “significant number” of health care professionals have not yet uploaded results from examinations conducted during the registry outage from December 2017 to August 2018.
“FMCSA is aware that while many medical examiners have submitted results of examinations conducted while the National Registry was offline, others still have not done so,” the agency said in an Aug. 6 Federal Register pre-publication notice. “FMCSA estimates that approximately 14,000 medical examiners still have examinations results to upload.”
In its announcement, the agency asked examiners to submit the missing evaluations by Sept. 30.
The Jan. 15 inspector general audit found weaknesses in federal regulators’ monitoring of medical examiner qualifications and ensuring that truck drivers meet physical qualification standards to safely operate commercial vehicles.
The audit said that the driver examination reports not being entered created “data-quality issues, including missing records,” and weaknesses associated with the accuracy and completeness of data that “limit the effectiveness of FMCSA’s oversight.”
What's next for data gathering and analytics programs in trucking? Host Seth Clevenger speaks with Andrew Johnson of PrePass Safety Alliance and Chris Orban of Trimble Transportation. Hear a snippet above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
The attempted hack of the registry in December 2017 caused the agency to take the registry system offline.
“Unfortunately, during the outage, medical examiners were not able to access their National Registry accounts to upload results of examinations conducted,” FMCSA said. “Medical examiners were encouraged to continue conducting physical qualification examinations and issuing medical examiner’s certificates to qualified commercial motor vehicle drivers.”
FMCSA said at the time that medical examiners also were informed that they should segregate all examinations completed during the outage and be prepared to upload them to the National Registry system when it came back online and was operating normally.
The amended FMCSA registry rule required examiners to report results of all commercial motor vehicle drivers’ physical examinations — including the results of examinations in which the driver was found not to be qualified — beginning in June 2018.
A DOT physical exam for truck drivers is valid for up to two years. The medical examiner also may issue a certificate for less than 24 months when it is desirable to monitor a condition, such as high blood pressure.
Source: FMCSA §391.41 Physical qualifications for drivers
The exams are required to be posted to the FMCSA registry by midnight local time of the next calendar day after the examination.
The National Registry, which contains the names of all certified medical examiners, numbers more than 50,000 qualified physicians authorized by FMCSA to conduct driver physicals.
Medical examiner requirements include being licensed in the state in which they will conduct the examinations, meeting training requirements and passing a required test.
Although the website is currently operational, FMCSA proposed in April delaying for four years completion of the registry redesign, citing information technology-related challenges.
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