Proposed Recommendations Define and Identify a Driver with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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A December 7th joint public meeting between MCSAC and the MRB made significant recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to help medical examiners identify commercial drivers with OSA. Making Sleep Work For You℠ can help drivers get back on the road by screening, diagnosing, and treating OSA.

"These recommendations give clear guidelines to all stakeholders involved," commented Richard Thiel, Director of Making Sleep Work For You.

On Wednesday December 7th, 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.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Richard Thiel, please call Crystal Bayawa at 215-637-6800 or email info(at)mswfy(dot)com.

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Crystal Bayawa
University Services
(215) 637-6800 x102
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