NASTC's Apnea Solution
Another very good reason to move to our drug and alcohol program at this time is that by doing so you can implement our obstructive sleep apnea solution and our driver portfolio as an extended part of drug and alcohol. We’re calling this broadened offering our Driver Health and Wellness Program.
You must have a negative drug screen in a driver’s qualification file prior to putting him under a load. That driver must also have a current medical card. Since May 26, 2014, all CDL holders must use a CERTIFIED MEDICAL EXAMINER (CME) for clearance to medically qualify to drive. Last fall, NASTC published its first CME Directory which should be in your possession. If not, call us and we’ll send you another. We published this directory to encourage companies and drivers to use this network of CME’s for their examinations. Almost one half of these examiners are in Little Clinics found in Krogers in nine different states. These clinics are driver-friendly, they afford truck parking and NASTC drivers receive a discount on the cost of the examination. They also have been educated to not use STOP BANG protocol for obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis that was once promoted in FMCSA’s training for CME’s. If you recall, Congress passed a law that basically addressed this misappropriate standard for apnea diagnosis and told FMCSA that they could not make apnea policy through guidance, and they had to go through a formal rule making procedure. Unfortunately in many respects, the cow was already out of the barn and CME’s have continued to use STOP BANG protocol to kick the liability can down the road to protect their shingles. Many companies and many drivers are still receiving the over-diagnosis result of “here’s your 90-dayCard – you need a sleep study for apnea”. Strict use of STOP BANG almost insures that all males over fifty years of age would require a sleep study to be cleared (another conundrum created by the one size fits all, cookie cutter mentality of FMCSA)! This time however, because mega-fleets have turnover rates north of 100% - generally four to five times worse than you, they are generally starved for “driver fodder” to fill their recruiting quotas, and they realized how damaging over-diagnosis on apnea would be to them. They lobbied hard for Congress to make FMCSA “stand down” and they succeeded. They also have control over their in-house medical examiners who have now been briefed on the misguidance of using STOP BANG as a diagnostic protocol.
You and your drivers will automatically have access to our apnea solution when you’re using our drug and alcohol testing program. All you have to do is offer a totally voluntary “SCREENING TEST” to new hires – a one-channel oximeter overnight test wearing a wrist watch device, at a cost of $60.00. This is not a hire/fire test. It is not related to the hiring decision. It is totally voluntary on the part of the new hire and, the results (the test itself ) and a letter from our neurologist will be sent back directly to the driver – not you. If the new hire doesn’t want the test, he/she simply signs a release for his/her file that states that. Then, as we pull your random selections for drug and alcohol, we’ll also alert you of all your drivers who are 6-months out from their medical card renewal, and they’re offered the same screening test.
At the end of two years, your files will have documentation that 100% of your drivers have been offered a screening test for obstructive sleep apnea. More importantly, all of your drivers will have been afforded the opportunity to deal with any apnea issues in a private, confidential way that is in no way job threatening.
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