These new forms are part of the FMCSA's final rule on medical certification which was scheduled to be required by December 22, 2015. The FMCSA allowed for a 120-day grace period to ensure physicians had ample time to become familiar with the new forms and to also program electronic medical records. With the closing of this grace period, the new forms and certificate must be used on any CDL-related examinations.
Proper form usage by the physician is the first step in remaining compliant with these new regulations. As we know, all physicians performing FMCSA medical exams must be trained, tested, and certified, which is a requirement that you must document in your driver files each time a driver is issued a new medical card. This can be verified using the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Assigned formal forms are required using a standardized layout. You need to make sure the physician is using:
Was the wrong form used?
Was an error made in completing the form?
Remember, if you don’t catch it the DMV (or the officer) will and they will disqualify or shut the driver down.
A new status is available, known as “pending”. This status allows an examiner to let a driver continue to operate under their current medical card for up to 45 days (or their current medical card expiration date) to give the examiner time to obtain information required to make an appropriate decision. If the driver gets the satisfactory information to the examiner within the 45 days, or expiration of their current card (whichever comes first), then the medical examiner will issue a new medical card to the driver, if not, the driver is disqualified.
Examiners are no longer allowed to reissue a card with a new expiration date once the driver meets the terms of a follow up. Examiners also cannot issue a card to an “unqualified driver” based on scheduled follow up.
A driver is either qualified at the time of the exam or not. Pending is a “qualified” driver, but if their is history of or a possibility of an existing condition, the examiner needs more information. Previously, a driver would be issued a medical card for high blood pressure with a scheduled follow up appointment, but this should no longer be the case if the physicians are following the guidance of the FMCSA Medical Board. The driver is either qualified or not qualified at the time of the exam.
Thank you to Thomas Bray from JJ Keller and Associates for contributing part of the information used in this article.