The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and  the Medical Review Board of the FMCSA held a joint  public meeting in Alexandria, VA, to discuss guidance for medical examiners  to identify commercial drivers with a high pre-test probability of having  Obstructive Sleep Apnea, define conditional certification, and what constitutes  immediate disqualification. “These recommendations are a step in the right  direction,” commented Richard Thiel, Director of Making Sleep Work For You?, a  nationwide sleep disorder program, “both entities recognize how OSA is an issue  in the industry, and are taking steps to not only address it, but also give  clear guidelines to all stakeholders involved.”

Subcommittees of each group working together will meet in January to draft  more detailed recommendations to the FMCSA, and another joint meeting of these  entities will take place in February 2012 to finalize the detailed  recommendations. A public comment period will also be available before the FMCSA  issues these recommendations as final guidance.

For now these would be considered “best practice” guidelines for medical  examiners to consider when completing certification exams for CDL. If adopted by  the FMCSA, CDL holders including truckers and bus drivers would fall under these  guidelines. The recommendations were split into two sections, one to identify  drivers and define certification & recertification, and the other to define  conditions for immediate disqualification.

According to these proposed recommendations, drivers with a Body Mass Index  (BMI) greater than or equal to 35 should be evaluated for OSA using an objective  test; he or she may be given a 60 day conditional medical card during the  evaluation and treatment process; and those drivers diagnosed with OSA must have  evidence of appropriate treatment and effective compliance, with future  recertification dependent on proof of continued compliance with treatment.  Immediate disqualification conditions are for individuals who report excessive  sleepiness while driving; have experienced a crash associated with falling  asleep; and have been non-compliant with treatment.

Making Sleep Work For You? has developed a  program that easily screens drivers for sleep apnea, diagnose individuals using  home sleep testing devices shipped across the country, coordinates PAP treatment  and effectiveness. Each step of this process allows drivers, fleets, and owner  operators to meet the requirements of certification quickly and  cost-effectively.

Making Sleep Work For You? is a program developed by University Services, a  multi-specialty medical services company that specializes in sleep medicine.  MSWFY screens employees using clinically validated sleep questionnaires, uses  home sleep testing technology to ship a sleep test anywhere across the country  to individuals, coordinates treatment and monitors treatment effectiveness.

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