The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently notified the trucking industry that it has put in place requirements for medical examiners that want to maintain certification allowing them to conduct physical examinations for truck drivers.
In a notice published in the Federal Register on Jan. 11, FMCSA announced that all medical examiners certified and listed on the agency’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry) must maintain their certification by completing refresher training four to five and nine to 10 years after certification, and pass a recertification test 10 years after certification.
The implementation of those requirements, which were in place when the National Registry was created in 2012, had been delayed due to IT issues at the agency.
However, “the five-year refresher training has been implemented and FMCSA is now proceeding with the 10-year training and testing,” FMCSA stated in the notice.
“The required 10-year refresher training will be delivered by private sector training organizations in the same manner as the initial National Registry medical examiner training. The 10-year recertification test will be provided by the two FMCSA-approved testing organizations in the same manner as the initial National Registry medical examiner certification test.”
Medical examiners will be able to upload to their registry accounts proof that they have completed the 10-year training and be eligible to take the 10-year recertification test starting January 1, 2023.
FMCSA’s National Registry ensures that medical examiners can determine if commercial (interstate) truck drivers meet federal physical qualification standards. Any health care professional that wants to perform physical qualification examinations for drivers must be certified by FMCSA. To become certified, a prospective examiner must:
- Be licensed, certified or registered to perform physical exams in accordance with applicable state laws and regulations.
- Register on the National Registry website and receive a unique National Registry number.
- Complete training based on federal regulations and related guidance.
- Pass the National Registry Medical Examiner Certification Test.
After the examiner’s test score and their medical credential or license have been verified, the examiner is certified by FMCSA and listed on the registry. Examiners can then use the National Registry to upload the results of driver physical qualification exams they have conducted. All exam results are required to be submitted by midnight of the next calendar day.
To maintain certification and listing on the National Registry, medical examiners are required to complete periodic training specified by FMCSA no sooner than four years and no later than five after the date of issuance of the medical examiner certification, complete periodic training and receive a passing score on the National Registry medical examiner certification test no sooner than nine years and no later than 10 after the date of the certification credential issued by FMCSA.
The first medical examiners certified and listed on the registry were required to complete five-year refresher training in January 2018. However, because of the IT delays, FMCSA was unable to deliver either the five-year training or 10-year training/recertification in time to meet the deadline.
On July 14, 2022, FMCA issued the five-year refresher training to all medical examiners who were either past due or currently due for the training using their National Registry accounts. FMCSA notified eligible medical examiners who were past due for the training that they had until Dec. 31, 2022, to complete the training.
To ensure all medical examiners have a full year to complete the required 10-year refresher training and pass the recertification test, medical examiners whose certification expires during 2023 will have until Dec. 31 to complete them.