Website outage leads to estimated backlog of 500,000 DOT exams
February 2, 2018
The backlog of Department of Transportation exams unable to be uploaded because of a two-month outage of an FMCSA website could be more than half a million, a certified medical examiner estimates.
“There were about 3.5 million exams performed last year,” said Mike Megehee, a doctor of chiropractic and president of Pendleton, Ore.-based Team CME. “Take that number and divide it by 12, and it’s a whole bunch of exams.”
The math comes to 291,667. But when you consider that the FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website has been down for two months, the ballpark estimate increases to 583,333. Of course, that number could be larger or smaller depending on whether or not December and January were busy months for DOT physicals. Regardless, it’s safe to say that certified medical examiners are dealing with a huge backlog that is rapidly increasing every day.
The website went down after a security breach on Dec. 1 and didn’t regain 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, Feb. 2.
For Team CME alone, Megehee estimates a backlog of more than 35,000 exams.
“I’m hearing from our doctors almost every day,” Megehee said. “I talk to about 50 doctors every day who have questions, and before we get off the phone about a third of them will say that they have a huge stack of unreported exams.”
In addition, the outage is keeping doctors, who recently passed their certification, from joining the national registry.
“We still have doctors who have taken the training and have actually passed the certification test, but they can’t do the exams because they can’t get in the national registry,” Megehee said. “They can’t be added. They’ve done all the work, but they can’t start.”
The FMCSA said on Jan. 5 that the website had been hacked but has declined to answer any other questions about the incident or about when the site should be operational again.
The website still isn’t fully operational, but there is a search tool available to help drivers, motor carriers and state driver’s license agencies verify that a health care provider is certified and listed on the registry. CMEs can continue to conduct DOT physicals and issue paper Medical Examiner’s Certificates, Form MCSA-5876, to qualified drivers. Medical examiners are instructed to 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.
Truck drivers, who are preparing for a DOT exam, can use the OOIDA website to read reviews on certified medical examiners.