The Medical Review Board’s preliminary apnea recommendations would enshrine a practice that’s increasingly common with truckers being treated successfully for sleep apnea: a one-year medical certification, twice the frequency of the standard two-year certification.
While this option is far better than being taken off the road, the inconvenience and extra cost of an annual certification is significant and could be avoided, argues Wasilla, Alaska-based Dan Tucker.
Granted, he says, the $9,000 cost for two in-lab tests when he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and began treatment is an inconvenience that is “fairly offset by the ‘quality of life’ ” differences.
But the one-year medical card requirement puts an ongoing “cost burden of an extra physical on me, and literally gives me an 11-month card. If I don’t renew ‘in time’ (before the existing card expires), I’m out!”
Furthermore, there’s “the additional stress of passing the physical, and no credit for being proactive and getting successful treatment for a treatable problem,” Tucker says. “I can prove – any time – that I’m following the treatment regime. There should be no ‘time penalty’ against my med card.”