FMCSA needs to do better on resolving medical conflicts: OOIDA

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is criticizing the process for drivers seeking to resolve conflicts with their medical certifications.

OOIDA submitted their concerns to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) through public comments regarding their proposed information collection request regarding the Medical Qualification Requirements, or the “Resolution of Medical Conflict” provision.

When either a driver or a fleet doesn’t agree with the decision of a medical specialist, and there are two different and conflicting medical reports, the Resolution of Medical Conflict provision allows the FMCSA to make a final ruling by requiring copies be submitted of both reports including all medical testing.

The existing regulation is constructed to intervene in a conflict between the physician for the driver and the physician for the motor carrier concerning the driver’s qualifications.

These conflicts typically arise out of certified medical examiners ordering expensive testing during a cursory exam that may not be needed.

The process requires that once an application is submitted a driver is disqualified until a determination has been made.

“This program is supposed to resolve medical conflicts but it simply doesn’t work,” said Lewie Pugh, vice president of OOIDA.

“This completely removes any incentive to utilize this program, given the driver will immediately lose their ability to earn an income.”

OOIDA I recommending that drivers be allowed to continue to work during the process and that all decisions be made within a 90-day time period instead of the unlimited review window currently in place.

The group is also asking that the FMCSA do more to protect and evaluate second opinions.

“Right now, the agency has no way to determine which exam is the second opinion.”

 

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