On June 22, 2018 FMCSA restored partial functionality to the NRCME Website which allows medical examiners to submit driver examinations. The site has been down for about six months prior to that, due to reported hacking. Certified and registered medical examiners were contacted via email by the FMCSA and were instructed on how to create an account at Login.gov. However, the functionality for designated medical examiner administrative assistants (MEAAs) and *third-party administrators (TPAs) to submit exam results on behalf of certified medical examiners has not yet been restored.
*For more information on TPAs click on link and scroll down to 10/27/2016 posting on blog entitled “FMCSA Medical Examiner Bulletins 2016”.
FMCSA also extended the compliance dates for the Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration Final Rule: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/medical/extension-compliance-dates-medical-examiners-certification-integration-final, delaying several provisions of the Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule from June 22, 2018 to June 22, 2021.
Two important changes were announced by FMCSA regarding reporting of driver medical examinations.
This should be good news to all medical examiners concerned about the accumulating backlog of driver medical examinations that needs to be uploaded. The changes also address daily reporting requirements that would have required examiners to report results of new examinations by midnight (local time) of the next calendar day following the examination starting on June 22, 2018.
- Daily reporting: by medical examiners is delayed until further notice by FMCSA and when all reporting functionality of the NRCME website is restored. This is to allow designated MEAAs and TPAs who do not yet have the ability to report to be able to do so on behalf of medical examiners.
- Backlog reporting: additionally, FMCSA is also allowing medical examiners an extension in order to enter the results of examinations backlogged during the time the NRCME website was down, without any penalties. Therefore, medical examiners do not have to immediately upload results of examinations that were performed during the outage. The announcement of the extension to upload examinations will be published in the Federal Register by the FMCSA and an email will also be sent to all registered medical examiners. How long will this extension be is not clear, but is likely to be fair given the measures already taken by FMCSA.
Examiners who perform a significant number of driver medical examinations, who have yet to adopt electronic reporting through a TPA or any kind of Electronic Health Record (EHR) and are still going at it manually, have my deepest sympathy. Even if you have one or more designated MEAAs to upload your exams you still might be stretching it, and likely could be using same staff for better purposes.
Please see previous blog “Better DOT Physicals with Technology” published more than two and a half years ago. In the interest of not appearing biased I can say that although I did cover one company in greater detail 2.5 years ago when these programs were relatively new, I no longer subscribe to the same provider. It was always my intention to go back and review other programs from other companies. Without mentioning any by name, I can say that I have used one of those other programs mentioned in the blog for many years now. I guess it is up to each examiner to find a program that suits him or her best. Bottom line, once you go digital you won’t go back.
However, whatever you chose to do, I do hope the recent FMCSA NRCME website outage was a lesson- It’s time to throw away your pen and paper and embrace in a different sense perhaps as Pink Floyd intended in their famous song from 1975, and “Welcome to the Machine”.