New York chiropractors no longer allowed to give DOT physicals

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 6/2/2016

All chiropractors in New York have been removed from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners as of Wednesday, June 1.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent out certified emails to chiropractors in New York on Wednesday night, informing them that they are no longer allowed to perform Department of Transportation physicals.

“Effective as of the date of this letter, you are no longer certified to conduct medical examinations to determine whether commercial motor vehicle drivers meet FMCSA’s physical qualification standards,” the FMCSA wrote. “Your information will remain publicly available in the National Registry for three years, with a notice that you are no longer listed on the National Registry as of the date of removal.”

While these doctors have been removed from the registry, FMCSA spokesman Duane DeBruyne did say that all of the medical certification cards issued by these doctors before the removal date are in good standing and will remain valid up to their expiration date.

The reason for the removal is based on the New York State Education Department’s interpretation of state law that DOT physicals are outside a chiropractor’s defined scope of practice in New York. According to the New York State Board for Chiropractic, changing the scope in New York would need to be done legislatively.

“The basis for this decision is based solely on scope and not competency,” the New York State Board for Chiropractic wrote.

Scott Grenerth, the director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said chiropractors are often some of the best medical examiners and that their exam costs are typically far more reasonable.

Several chiropractors in New York have been in contact with the FMCSA in hopes of resolving the situation.

The Safe Drivers, Safe Roads Coalition is working to make sure removing chiropractors from the registry doesn’t become a trend in multiple states.

“We have evidence that there is a movement afloat currently that elements of the medical profession are attempting to have chiropractic removed from participation in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners,” the group’s website said.

Grenerth suggests that truck drivers in New York who are getting ready to have their physical, go to the DOT website to make sure the doctor is on the National Registry.

“If they were planning to have their physical with a chiropractor, they will have to make alternative plans,” Grenerth said. “I also encourage drivers in New York to contact their state elected officials and tell them their concerns about this issue.”

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