FMCSA: CME website was hacked, but info wasn’t exposed

January 5, 2018

Mark Schremmer

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The FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website was hacked on Dec. 1, the agency told Land Line on Friday, Jan. 5.

“On Dec. 1, 2017, the Department of Transportation experienced an unanticipated system outage of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners,” the FMCSA said in an email to Land Line. “The department determined from its initial investigation that while there had been unauthorized access to the system, there was no evidence of exposure of the personal information of drivers, medical examiners, or motor carrier operators. The incident remains under investigation, and the department is working diligently to restore all impacted services to full functionality as soon as practicable.”

The website, which allows commercial drivers to confirm wich doctors are on the national registry to perform Department of Transportation physicals, originally went down on either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1 and didn’t resume its functionality until Dec. 14. However, the site stopped working again on the afternoon of Dec. 15 and still wasn’t fully operational as of Friday, Jan. 5.

Up until Jan. 5, the FMCSA remained mostly silent as to what caused the website to go down and when it was expected to return to full functionality.

While the agency is still working to “restore full services,” the FMCSA has provided a new search tool to help drivers, motor carriers and state driver’s license agencies verify that a health care provider is certified and listed on the registry.

“To use this search tool, the Medical Examiner’s National Registry number will be required,” the website stated. “Drivers needing to verify a specific provider is certified and listed on the national registry prior to an examination can obtain this number by contacting their health care professional directly. Each Certified Medical Examiner on the national registry is provided a national registry number when registering to become certified to conduct Department of Transportation physical qualification examinations. If the search for a national registry number does not provide a result, it may be that the medical examiner is registered but has not yet completed the process to become certified by FMCSA, and the driver should find a new provider.”

The FMCSA said CMEs can continue to conduct DOT physicals and issue paper Medical Examiner’s Certificates, Form MCSA-5876, to qualified drivers.

“Medical Examiners should segregate all examinations completed during the outage and be prepared to upload them to the national registry system, with no penalties, when it is back online,” FMCSA wrote.

The agency said test centers should hold all test results that need to be transmitted until the system is operational.

In addition, truck drivers who are preparing for a DOT exam can use the OOIDA website to read reviews on certified medical examiners.

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.