Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Administration recently created a new mandate that will go into effect on May 21, 2014.
This will require all bus drivers, large-truck drives and drivers of trucks carrying hazardous materials to have a medical examination once at least every two years by a medical professional who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
“In the past drivers could go to their primary care physician or any medical professional to be tested. Now that provider has to be trained, certified and listed on the registry for the exam to be valid,” said Philip McAndrew, MD, an occupational health expert at Loyola University Health System.
Drivers will now have to have the exams done by a practitioner who has been trained by a certified organization, pass a national certification exam, obtain a provider number on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and register on their website. The new mandate is to help ensure that medical professionals performing these tests understand their responsibility in keeping the roads safe from impaired drivers.
“From a safety standpoint we need physicians who are trained and have a firm grasp of the regulations and guidelines and what this means for public safety,” McAndrew said.
The larger the vehicle, the more dangerous it can be on the roads. The medical exams are designed to ensure a driver of a large vehicle is physically and mentally fit to drive these potentially dangerous vehicles. The medical tests include a thorough patient history and physical exam, which includes blood pressure, urinalysis, vision and hearing tests.
“As a medical examiner we have a role in keeping the public safe from people who are unfit to drive. It’s about protecting the driver as well as the kids on the school bus they are driving or the family in the mini-van driving on the same road,” McAndrew said.
Physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and chiropractors are eligible to apply to become a certified medical examiner.
The objectives of the National Registry are to:
• Ensure that medical examiners understand fully the medical standards in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and related guidance and how they apply to drivers
• Maintain ongoing competency of medical examiners through training, testing, certification and recertification
• Promote public confidence in the quality of the medical examinations of CMV drivers
• Ensure that the list of certified medical examiners is easily accessible
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Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.