Effective April 20, 2016, all Certified Medical Examiners will be required to use new medical certification forms for commercial motor vehicle drivers. If your drivers are preparing to take a DOT physical, here are a few tips to ensure compliance in this area.
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.
Tips to Remain Compliant
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:
- MEC: MCSA – 5876 for the medical card
- MER: MCSA – 5875 for the long form (if you get a copy – another discussion for another day)
What should you look for on the new 5876 Medical Card?
- The most common error is in the box labeled: Medical Examiners Certificate Expiration Date. This is where the physician should be listing the expiration date of the Med Card given to the driver. Many physicians are listing the expiration date of their certification not the drivers.
- Is the proper box checked verifying driver is qualified for interstate, not intrastate?
- Are there any restrictions boxes checked
- Did the medical examiner sign the card?
- Medical examiner’s name (printed or typed)
- Medical examiner’s State License, Certificate, or Registration Number
- Medical examiner’s phone number
- Type of examiner (MD, Physician assistant, Advanced Practice Nurse, DO, Chiropractor, Other/specify
- Issuing State
- Date the certificate was signed
- National registry number
- Driver’s signature, driver’s license number. Issuing state/province, Street address, city, state/province/sipcode
- CLP/CDL Applicant – "Yes" must be checked or it will not be reported to the state and consequently not make it on their driver's MVR.
What should you do if something is wrong?
Was the wrong form used?
- Contact the medical examiner and provide the correct form.
- Ask the medical examiner to transfer information to the new form.
Was an error made in completing the form?
- Contact the medical examiner and provide the correct information
- Ask the medical examiner to correct the error and provide a new card.
Remember, if you don’t catch it the DMV (or the officer) will and they will disqualify or shut the driver down.
What is the new status, "pending"?
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.