In order to maintain their commercial motor vehicle license, drivers must pass a physical exam that meets standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
?Doctors, nurse practitioners, osteopaths?anybody with a medical license can do a DOT test,? said Kodi Panzer, Hillsboro chiropractor.
Panzer, however, is one of only nine professionals within a 75-mile radius listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. That program requires medical examiners who perform physical exam for interstate CMV licensed drivers be trained and certified in physical qualification standards set by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admini?stration.
The goal of the NRCME, according to its website, ?is to promote and preserve the highest level of professional standards, training and care among medical examiners.?
It also provides drivers and employers with easy access to a list of certified medical examiners.
?After you?ve been certified by the training and taken the test and passed it successfully, they put you on (the NRCME) website so truck drivers can find somebody?s who certified,? said Panzer, who was recertified in February to give physicals.
As of June 29, she also is certified to conduct urine collection, a diagnostic procedure that measures components in urine and is used to screen for alcohol and drugs. Collection is done at her office and then picked up by AMS Reference Lab in Wichita.
?They do the testing and then they fax results back,? she said. ?There?s quite a bit of paperwork.?
NRCME certification must be updated every five years, Panzer said, adding that although she completed training for physicals and drug screening separately, some places offer both together. In the near future, she said, it will be mandatory for all medical examiners to complete a course, take a test and become nationally certified.
She writes her national registry and license numbers on the card for the driver, as well as the expiration date for its validity.
For the urine certification, Panzer received instruction by Blake Baty, a Wichita chiropractor who offers accredited NRCME training and DOT alcohol/drug testing accreditation.
?We went through mock sample collections,? she said. ?I had to do (different scenarios) and do them properly (to be certified).?
Panzer, who?s had her practice in Hillsboro for 4? years, said she has seen a lot of drivers since being listed on the NRCME website.
?I debated about getting certified (in urine collection),? Panzer said. ?Well, I need continuing education, and it?s better to have it. In case somebody does want one, I can have that option available in my office for it. So I just went ahead.
?Now that I’ve done it, I?ve had more (physical exams) in the last three months than the four previous years.?
Both employers and applicants can contact Panzer to make an appointment for a physical and/or screening.
?The person in charge will call here and say, ?We have a truck driver who needs a physical,?? she said.
After the physical exam, Panzer fills out the required forms at her office and verifies whether the driver passes for one or two years, depending on health history.
?Two years is the max I can give for a health physical,? she said. ?Some companies, though, even if (patients) do qualify for a two-year, require them to get one every year, just be to safe.?
Certain conditions, including Type 1 diabetes, hearing, vision and epilepsy, automatically disqualify patients unless they have an exemption, Panzer said.
?Some can get exemptions through a specialist who lets them have a year certificate,? she said. ?Even after certain surgeries they have to be (examined). It?s kind of nice because when that does come up, I have all of my notes here, and I can go and make sure. If they have a certain condition, there?s a wait period for some of them. And after the exam, I certify them for so long.?
Urinalysis, which she said is also part of the physical exam, checks for blood in the urine, levels of sugar and protein, and specific gravity, which measures the concentration of chemical particles in the urine.
?So if it were to come out positive on the urinalysis,? Panzer said, ?I would refer them to their doctor for further blood tests to rule out (causes of blood in the urine, or sugar).?
According to the U.S. Depart?ment of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admini?stra?tion, ?alcohol and drug testing rules apply to every person and to all employers of such persons who operate a commercial motor vehicle in commerce in any state, and is subject to the commercial driver?s license requirements.?
Occasions for screening include pre-employment, reasonable suspicion by a supervisor, random tests required by the DOT and post-accident incidents, which applies to all CMV licensed drivers.
At this point, Panzer said she hasn?t been contacted for the drug test only.
?I?ve had a couple of companies that said, ?Hey, we want to do those together.??
You can access the NRCME list by clicking here.