New medical certification forms required now

By Mark Schremmer, staff writer

As of April 20, all Certified Medical Examiners are required to use new medical certification forms for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.

The new forms, which are part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's final rule on medical certification, were originally planned to be required by Dec. 22, 2015. However, the FMCSA implemented a 120-day grace period just days before the original deadline "to ensure that medical examiners have sufficient time to become familiar with the new forms and to program electronic medical records systems." During the grace period, medical examiners were allowed to use either the old or new versions of the medical examination report form and medical examiner's certificate.

The grace period ended April 20, meaning the new forms and certificate must be used on any CDL-related examinations performed on that day and any following day.

"Just make sure that the person is indeed using the new form," said Scott Grenerth, the director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

In the new form, the FMCSA expanded the medical history criteria and incorporated those criteria into the regulations. The new form now has 32 health conditions listed under the medical history portion of the rule. Of those conditions, 13 are new to the form. The revision also modified the duration of the medical history from five years to lifetime.

The OOIDA website offers information and advice for drivers who are preparing to take a DOT physical. Tips include allowing ample time before your physical expires, bringing the proper documentation and finding out how much the medical examiner charges. OOIDA's site also allows drivers to write and read reviews of medical examiners.

"People can share a review of a medical examiner they've gone to, and now we're up to hundreds of reviews that have been submitted," Grenerth said. "Now, there's a pretty good likelihood that if someone is looking for a medical examiner in their area they may be able to find a review of one of them from a fellow driver."

The "New April 20th" tab online breaks down the changes on the medical forms. LL