An FMCSA website remains “under construction” nearly three months after it was hacked on Dec. 1, 2017. Meanwhile, the agency hasn’t provided any estimates for when the site should be working again.
The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website went down after a security breach on Dec. 1 and didn’t regain functionality until Dec. 14. However, the site stopped working again on the afternoon of Dec. 15 and still wasn’t fully operational as of Tuesday, Feb. 20.
This has led to a large backlog of Department of Transportation exams that are waiting to be uploaded. Mike Megehee, a doctor of chiropractic and president of Pendleton, Ore.-based Team CME estimated at the beginning of the month that the backlog was more than half a million.
“There were about 3.5 million exams performed last year,” Megehee said. “Take that number and divide it by 12, and it’s a whole bunch of exams.”
Using 3.5 million exams per year as the baseline, that means the average amount of exams per month would be 291,667. If the website remains down through February, the ballpark estimate for the backlog would be 875,001. Of course, that number could be larger or smaller depending on whether or not the past three months were busy ones for DOT physicals. Regardless, it’s safe to say that certified medical examiners are dealing with a huge backlog that is rapidly increasing every day and could soon approach 1 million.
In addition, the outage is keeping doctors, who recently passed their certification, from joining the national registry.
“We still have doctors who have taken the training and have actually passed the certification test, but they can’t do the exams because they can’t get in the national registry,” Megehee said. “They can’t be added. They’ve done all the work, but they can’t start.”
The agency also announced on Feb. 7 that it mistakenly sent email notifications to CMEs on Feb. 5-6 that told them they would be removed from the national registry because of expired credentials.
“The notification was an error. FMCSA is not currently planning to remove any Medical Examiners from its National Registry based on out-of-date information,” the agency said.
The FMCSA hasn’t responded to Land Line’s inquiries about the email blunder. In addition, the agency has declined to answer any of Land Line’s questions about the security breach, outage, or the backlog since announcing the hack occurred on Jan. 5.
CMEs can continue to conduct DOT physicals and issue paper Medical Examiner’s Certificates, Form MCSA-5876 to qualified drivers. Medical examiners are instructed to segregate all examinations completed during the outage and be prepared to upload them to the national registry system with no penalties when it is back online.
While the website isn’t fully operational, it does offer limited functionality to find CMEs by zip code and by registry number.
Truck drivers, who are preparing for a DOT exam, can use the OOIDA website to read reviews on certified medical examiners.
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