The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mistakenly sent email notifications to certified medical examiners on Feb. 5-6 that told them they would be removed from the national registry because of expired credentials, the agency said on its website.
“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 FMCSA is not currently planning to remove any Medical Examiners from its National Registry based on out-of-date information,” the agency said.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’s national registry website remains under construction after being hacked on Dec. 1. As of Feb. 8, the site still wasn’t fully operational.
“Medical Examiners are required by the state(s) in which they practice to maintain a current license at all times and examiners with valid credentials may continue to conduct the DOT physical exams and issue medical certificates to truck and bus drivers, irrespective of the status of the National Registry website. FMCSA will notify all Medical Examiners when the National Registry website is restored.”
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.
Since the CMEs haven’t been able to upload the exams for more than two months, a tremendous backlog has been created. Last week, Mike Megehee, who is a doctor of chiropractic and president of Pendleton, Ore.-based Team CME, estimated that the backlog was more than 500,000.
“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.”
Megehee also said the site’s outage is preventing 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 FMCSA did not immediately respond Thursday to questions regarding the email and the status of CMEs.
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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