New Medical Requirements from the FMCSA

We want you to be aware of new medical requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The FMCSA requires interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers to maintain a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) Form, MCSA-5876. As part of their physical exams, drivers are required to complete the medical history portion of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875.

While this form isn’t new, there are changes that patients and employers should be aware of. The current form, required for use by patients and medical examiners, no longer requires patients to provide gender information. This revision went into effect on September 7, 2021. As a provider, please be sure your MER form is up to date.

Reasons to Invest in Physical Abilities Testing PAs

If the working population you serve participate in physical activities at work that are either very dangerous, extremely strenuous or require significant fine motor skills, it is wise to provide physical abilities testing. A 45-minute examination designed to test team members’ ability to complete day-to-day tasks, this testing method has proven to reduce injuries on the job.

What to Expect

Prior to conducting physical abilities testing for employees, a team of physical therapy experts could be contracted to go to a worksite to perform a quantitative job demands analysis. During this time, they will evaluate the most dangerous and physically demanding aspects of each job. From there, they will select up to five tasks and use them for testing.

As part of the physical abilities test, they perform an employee health screening, musculoskeletal screening and have employees demonstrate a range of tasks that will be required for their jobs. Activities may include lifting, squatting or kneeling for long periods of time. This will help determine how able the patients/employees are to safely complete daily work practices.

The Importance of Testing

Physical abilities testing is essential in industries with risks of workplace injuries or repetitive trauma. Employers should refer to previously reported injuries and make a judgment regarding which physical jobs may put employees at highest risk.

Studies show about a 69% decrease in workplace injuries when testing takes place, as well as approximately 90% reduction in injury costs. Beyond this, the initial health

screening before the test can help detect employee health issues such as high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes on the job.

If you participated in the NCCPA Pilot program

The deadline for maintaining certification expires on March 31, 2021. Over 4000 individuals still need to log their CME or pay the required fee. If you are one of these individuals, log onto your NCCPA record at . If you need to request an exception to policy or extension of certification maintenance requirements you can use the following link:

Catalog: Search - AAPA

This link is to the AAPA - CME Catalog, many are free or at a minimal fee.  There is a Catalog Filter for Searching.

FMCSA extends the waiver for CDL and other interstate drivers operating CMVs until December 31, 2020.

There is a new alternative to CPAP for sleep apnea called Inspire. This has potential impact on our CDL patients.  A polysomnogram is done approximately 3 months after device implantation to document effectiveness. The device can be interrogated like CPAP to document usage.

The FMCSA has extended the expiration dates for Medical Examiner certificates. The Medical Examiner certificate is now valid through September 30, 2020.

The U.S. Coast Guard has extended the expiration dates for Merchant Mariner and Pilot credentials to December 31, 2020.

FMCSA grants emergency relief to motor carriers and drivers who are providing direct assistance to relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

ACOEM has advised that routine occupational spirometry testing be suspended during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Important News for Physician Assistants Regarding the NYS Workers' Compensation System: a new law signed as part of Governor Cuomo’s 2019-2020 budget allows PAs to treat injured workers in the NYS workers’ compensation system. Have you done your training?

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We understand Occupational Medicine Continuing Education is hard to find. As a member of APAOM, you now have access to educational resources that may be hard to find, but are definitely helpful in staying up to date with evidenced based Occupational Medicine.

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