OOIDA disagrees with New York chiropractors' removal from registry

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 8/2/2016

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is asking the New York State Education Department to reconsider its decision that led to chiropractors in the state being removed from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

In a letter sent to the board and regents members on Monday, Aug. 1, OOIDA defended the right of chiropractors to perform Department of Transportation physicals and discussed the negative impact the decision could have on truck drivers.

On June 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent certified emails to chiropractors in New York, informing them they could no longer perform DOT physicals. FMCSA said 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.

The New York State Board for Chiropractic said the decision was based solely on scope and not competency. Changing the scope in New York would need to be done legislatively, the state board said.

“It is our understanding the board is at least partially responsible for the removal of New York chiropractors from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners,” OOIDA wrote. “We hope the board will reconsider this issue based on the law and the personalized medical care that truck drivers deserve and require.”

OOIDA cited a portion of federal code that includes doctors of chiropractic in the definition of medical examiner.

“We are struggling to comprehend how New York was able to change its longstanding interpretation of the applicable statutes and regulations,” OOIDA wrote. “Federal code defines an examiner to include chiropractors and New York state statute adopts the definition of medical examiner in its entirety. New York’s interpretation effectively forced FMCSA to remove doctors of chiropractic from the national registry of certified medical examiners – though it’s our opinion that FMCSA bears some accountability in all of this.”

OOIDA also mentioned that chiropractors have performed physicals at a high standard in the state for years and that this decision reduces what was already a limited pool of certified medical examiners.

“It is widely accepted that in many parts of the country there are simply not enough doctors on the (national registry), and New York is no exception in certain parts of the state,” OOIDA wrote. “New York’s decision to prohibit chiropractors from performing a physical has significantly shrunk the pool of doctors that truck drivers can access for physicals and other critical medical needs. Anecdotally, we believe the cost of physicals has also increased.”

The New York board shouldn’t make truck drivers’ lives any more difficult, OOIDA contends.

“Without truck drivers, our nation’s economy would grind to a halt,” OOIDA wrote. “It’s a challenging profession and things that most Americans take for granted. … New York’s change in policy simply adds to the challenge truck drivers face and does nothing to improve personal highway safety.”

Copyright © OOIDA