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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Examiners Unnecessarily Pushing Apnea Tests

Two U.S. lawmakers have accused medical examiners of unnecessarily requiring that truck drivers get tested for sleep apnea. Reps. Larry Bucshon and Dan Lipinski penned a joint letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stating that certain organizations that offer medical examiner training are advising examiners to order the test.

“It has come to my attention … that organizations that provide training for certified medical examiners are circumventing HR3095,” reads the letter.

HR3095 was passed by Congress in 2013 and prohibits the FMCSA from setting a requirement for sleep apnea testing without a formal rulemaking. Instructions to certified medical examiners and their training providers state that examiners should follow FMCSA’s most recent guidance, published in April 2012.

The representatives point out that some training providers are associated with sleep labs, which would benefit from increased sleep apnea testing.
To remedy the situation, Bucshon and Lipinski suggest three steps:

1. Instruct training providers to refrain from providing specific requirements for sleep apnea testing.
2. Require training providers to remove language from their training materials that would suggest any sleep apnea tests are required by the government.
3. Provide amended information to currently certified examiners to correct any misconceptions they may have.

“It is imperative that FMCSA address these issues as soon as possible,” reads the letter. “These faulty training courses are keeping qualified drivers off the road. We would request a written response as to how FMCSA plans to address these issues and their progress in this endeavor.”