Seminar: Medical registry rule upping urgency of sleep apnea testing

| March 28, 2014

sleep apneaThe looming deadline for truckers to be medically certified by examiners approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ratcheted up the pressure for those who may be at risk for sleep apnea to be tested and treated, said Greg McDermand of Phoenix Sleep Solutions speaking at the Mid-America Trucking Show March 27.

FMCSA’s National Registry for Certified Medixal Examiners rule goes into effect May 31, and after that date all drivers must use an examiner from the agency’s registry when renewing or first obtaining medical clearance.

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McDermand said that because the agency doesn’t have formal rules regarding sleep apnea testing or criteria for testing, however, medical examiners must use criteria that increase risk of apnea occurrence, like weight and underlying medical conditions, as a means to relieve themselves of liability in case of a crash.

“Examiners are getting very aggressive because of liability,” McDermand said. “They’re not comfortable letting people walk out” if they may be at risk for apnea, he said.

Two key red flags for examiners are neck size of 17.5 or body mass index of 35 or greater. Drivers with conditions like diabetes, hyperthyroid or high blood pressure also will flag examiners, McDermond said.

Drivers who walk in to a medical examiners office with any of the above will be told they need to be tested for sleep apnea, McDermand said, and he’s hearing frequently from drivers who say the examiners aren’t renewing med cards of they haven’t been tested.

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Because of this, McDermand said, drivers need to be proactive about getting tested so they can bring test results or proof of treatment to the medical examiner when they go in for medical certification.

“I recommend you find a place to get tested so you can walk in with a clean piece of paper that says you’re treated with a CPAP or that says yo’re negative and they’ll leave you alone,” he said.

Drivers can get tested at any clinic or testing service they’d like — those examiners don’t have to be certified by FMCSA, McDermand said. Drivers only need to be able to show their FMCSA-approved examiner documents showing they’ve been tested and are being treated, if they tested positive.

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  • g

    Imagine having to sleep with this MASK on?? Real romantic if you bring along a woman?? hahahahahaha..hey baby…let me slide my MASK on.

  • g

    That ignornat TEST aint cheap either…..gas mask must cost a bit too.

  • William Manley

    Which senators and representatives are prospering from this rule? How many have invested $$$ into the medical companies that are diagnosing sleep apnea (The medical sky is falling) and selling us these machines? There’s your answer. When we all go on strike, this is one of the demands we strike down and will be non-negotiable. Some of the others….. time and a half or more for 40+ hours; door to door miles, all using the national network; no perdiem screwjobs; .75cpm for company drivers, profit of $1.00 per mile for owner operators after taxes, and all expenses; no more pharmaceutical handbags to be toted around by us, to combat the unnecessary treatment of high blood pressure etc.

  • chuck

    It’s only 5,000 to 8,000 to be tested deduct that from your wages and McDonalds is looking pretty good.

  • Frank

    Boys n girls I took this test in 1997 and what do u know they said I had sleep apnea, but at that time I didn’t know what we know now so I ate it up with a big o spoon, we’ll I just didn’t see much diffrents, So after about a year someone in the family said hey go get tested for allergies and I did we’ll guess what I had 55 different allergies and as u can guess with allergies thay come n go, it just depends on where your at, and I started taking 2 shots a week and thing got a whole lot better and more restful sleep then guess what just like this crap going on here a law was made up so u had to go in to the doc. Office to get the shots.( No more giving them to yourself) We’ll how many OTR drivers do u know that can make that happen every week. Anyway I’m just saying don’t expect to much of a change and remember to factor in the human part of this you want help for a better nights sleep so you have a honeymoon grace period were you want it to work so bad you think it’s working better then it really is. So go get checked for allergies 1 st. To feel better n get a reasonable night of sleep as far as the rest like I have read the doc. Is still goingto make you spend this test money just because your over 35 BMI etc.

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