As of last month, all certified medical examiners are required to use new medical certification forms for commercial motor vehicle drivers. With some help from Thomas Bray of J.J. Keller and Associates, what we’re offering fleets below are a few tips for their drivers who are preparing to take a DOT physical
These new forms are part of the FMCSA’s final rule on medical certification that must now 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 MEC: MCSA – 5876 for the medical card, or MER: MCSA – 5875 for the long form. If you get a copy, then that’s a 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.
Here are some other things to look for:
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?
- Is the medical examiner’s name printed or typed?
- Does the card feature the medical examiner’s state license, certificate or registration number?
- Does it include the medical examiner’s phone number?
- Does it include the type of examiner (MD, physician assistant, advanced practice nurse, DO, chiropractor, other?
In addition, the new card should include the issuing state, the date the certificate was signed, the national registry number, and the driver’s signature and driver’s license number. And where it reads: CLP/CDL Applicant, “Yes” must be checked or it will not be reported to the state and consequently not make it on the driver’s MVR.
Also, a new status is available, known as “pending.” This status allows an examiner to let drivers 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 he or she has a 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.
About the Author: Donald Jerrell is the associate vice president of transportation at HNI. He assists clients establish proper processes, procedures and measurements to help in loss reduction, reducing risk exposure and increasing profitability for their organization. This blog was original posted on HNI’s blog at: hni.com/blog/new-medical-card-requirement.