Thursday roundup: Chiropractors and sleep apnea tests, Rhode Island throws parking bone to truckers

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That’s Connecticut-based owner-operator Joe Bielucki’s Kenworth T800 daycab and flatbed loaded and parked for a brief respite in a spot he says he hasn’t been able to access for some three, maybe four years at this point. It’s off I-95 northbound at a Rhode Island truck rest area just before exit 3 that has been recently reopened, Bielucki says. Rhode Island, mind you, ranked No. 2 in our hall of shame late last year for the availability of truck parking, behind only California:

The Top 20 worst states for parking

Clearly, spaces are in short supply on congested major routes there.

joe-bielucki-rhode-island-rest-area-2The Providence Journal newspaper reported the truck rest area’s early opening in September as work being completed early, but Bielucki speculates state officials might well have thrown a bone to truckers in anticipation of the trucks-only toll plan approval that came down recently. “I guess they feel like throwing a bone after the whole truck toll fiasco!” Bielucki wrote this morning. “Anyway, after a few years of being closed several urinals are dysfunctional and it seems some repairs are in order. But it is open with soap and hand dryers — the toilets seemed to all be functional, at least in the men’s room.”

However, the building on the site, he says, has limited hours for now — 8 a.m.-4 p.m.. Portable toilets are there for other hours and parking is open 24/7.

Here come the chiropractors!
Chiropractors, as is fairly well-known, can perform DOT physicals as long as they put forth the effort to be included in FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. All well and good, but driver Bob Stanton of the Truckers for a Cause sleep-apnea support group notes a curious fact about the Medical Review Board to the FMCSA and an element of what they — and the more broad-based MCSAC advisory committee — just officially recommended to the agency on sleep apnea screening and testing.

Commenting under the news in the Overdrive‘s Trucking Pro Linked group, Stanton noted, “What’s interesting is the Medical Review Board has no members board-certified in sleep medicine. They also ignored comments submitted by medical groups like the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Sleep and Breathing Academy.”

And: The MRB left in an item included in their draft recommendations that allows a DOT medical examiner to send a patient who’s had one of the less-expensive home sleep tests back for a more-expensive in-lab test if the examiner “determines that the in-home sleep study is inadequate,” according to draft recommendation language.

While the language also notes that the examiner should consult with the sleep specialist to make such a determination, here’s how Stanton describes all of this. The language essentially “allows a chiropractor to overrule a medical doctor board-certified in sleep medicine and require retesting with the most expensive form of testing. … It will be very interesting to see the cost-effectiveness analysis for this.”

If it ever gets there. Cost-effectiveness analysis would come with a rulemaking, of course, and FMCSA has forever and a day to go before they get there. Food for thought, nonetheless.

More on the recommendations from yesterday’s reporting:

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