Concentra is running one hell of a scam... Keep reading...
I went to the doctor this morning, I have my 2 year DOT medical card and can now work again! The letter from my VA doctor was all my 2nd opinion doctor needed to CYA and issue the card. It still cost me weeks of work, and an unneeded second physical.
I also called OOIDA, the trucker rights group I mentioned in my last post... I told them about the scam Concentra is running, they knew about it, which did not surprise me in the least. Like I stated in my original post, I have thyroid issues that lead to a sudden weight gain, I sleep fine. Anyways, what OOIDA did not know was the fact that I am the carrier, I am the trucking company, and being the carrier, only I, as the owner of the business, can request that a SA study be performed on a driver. That is the law, or rule in this case. When the gal at OOIDA heard that, the sirens went off... This is a scam folks.
If you are a SA doctor, and I do not doubt the condition exists, but to have a nationwide clinic pulling a scam like this against truck drivers, many of whom are scraping by, this is just down right criminal in my book, and a detriment to your business if this scam is allowed to continue. Truck drivers do have time on their hands, and they will spread the message, I know I will.
I'm back, here is what happened... I hope this comes out coherently... I am still a bit PO'd and have still not received my DOT Medical Card.
Let's start with the DOT regulations... SA is not there, and the only legal way to have a Commercial Truck Driver tested for such, is if the Carrier REQUESTS the Sleep Study! Only the carrier can request! Not the clown doing the DOT physical with the SA Testing Clinic Brochure and the SA Equipment I am required to purchase, from their select supplier pamphlets in hand. The physician has no say in the matter if the driver passes the prescribed DOT exam. No one else can "legally" make that call other than the carrier, that is the law, end of story.
OK... I called OOIDA, look it up... By DOT regulations I am allowed a second opinion. Well, I went and got one of those the other day...
Alright, the second opinion doc, he completed my physical, I passed with flying colors, and then he saw what the other doctor put in my FMSCA medical record... That record stated that I have SA... So, he stopped everything, as he was rightfully between a rock and a hard place, AND he was ready to sign the two year medical card... I told him what went down with the other "doctor" at that point... He told me to get a letter from my primary care physician stating that there is no reason to test me, as I do not have issues or symptoms related to SA, which I do not, and he would issue the two year card.
I called the VA in Ann Arbor MI, and my primary there wrote the letter, and nailed it right out of the park. It is the VA folks, if I have issues sleeping, or insomnia, they will take care of me, I have no such issues. But I do have thyroid issues, which is the reason for my weight gain, and the reason I am regularly going to the VA for testing to find the appropriate care. Neither here nor there, but anyways...
This second doctor was not going to even suggest that I have SA, he knew the law. But, because Concentra makes money off of this deal, here we are.
And there is the kicker, I called Concentra and explained my "issue", and they insisted that my carrier requested the test. Honey, I am the carrier! And I requested no such test!
I am going back on Thursday December 5th to the second DOT doctor, with my note from my primary care physician, stating that there is no reason to test me as there is no evidence of SA. I will report back when I get my DOT card.
When I am issued my 2 year card, I am calling an attorney.
Yep, my plan exactly, really prepare for the test. As I stated earlier, I know of no one that has ever passed this sleep test, at least in my industry. And after all of the monies are spent on testing and gear, there are no follow ups. As I stated, most of the drivers I know have no way to even operate the machines they were forced to purchase in their trucks. Still new in their boxes, never opened.
I'm looking into the $100 at home services, I cannot afford a $1000 in house study, and even if I could, I would not comply. I am being forced to do this, so finding the least expensive route is my only option. As far as the machines, most of my buddies have them, still in the box. I have had several fellow truck drivers already tell me I can have theirs.
And that is the kicker, they force us drivers to do all of this, and few if any drivers actually use these devices they were forced to purchase. Most trucks do not have the required inverter to power these units, so they stay in the box and are never used, and there is no medical follow up, they simply ask if you have your machine! Again, tell me this is not a racket?
And that is another thing, sleeping hard in a truck is really not in ones best interest. With the new logging devices we are now required to use, I find myself taking sleeping pills and or NyQuil to force myself to sleep to stay compliant with our new government mandated duty cycle. The government states we need more rest, so we pop pills and or drink lots of NyQuil. You think that is healthy? LOL! I don't, and try not too, but many times I have too. I wake up feeling like the bottom of your shoe, if anything happens I sleep right through it, like a fire or accident, or God forbid someone tries to break into my truck, which is very common in more than a few locations around the country. Trust me, truck stop parking lots are not the safest place to park, but it is all we got.
Meanwhile, I am changing carriers, I own my truck, and will be going to work with a local outfit. They have a run that may just allow me to hit the gym on a daily basis, now that is something I have been trying to do for over a year now. with zero success.
I don't work a 9 to 5 job, so staying healthy out here is darn near impossible, with the new driving regulations and the egg timer on our dash, I can no longer just go to the store or gym, I am held captive in my truck. I cannot even move across the parking lot to a better parking space. Prior to these regulations it was much easier to at least have a choice, now I get whatever I happen to land in. And by that I mean available parking.
And then staying healthy with the food available out here is darn near impossible unless you have a refrigerator in the truck. The food our here is pretty much crap, Mcdonalds and the like, and lack of real restaurants out here like we used to have, restaurants with locals in the back cooking up some really good stuff. That is all gone now, Subway is the healthy choice, unless you can find a grocery store, but that is getting to be more difficult as many businesses ban our trucks from entering their property.
I'm going to retire soon, have to, as this industry is going down the tubes very quickly, too quickly and the stress of the government regulations has MY stress levels through the roof. I have to leave sooner than later, because my body is telling me if I continue in this racket I will be at room temp within a few years, and it won't be from SA, but government regulations.
Many of us older drivers are fleeing the industry, 30 years of safe driving out here, and millions of miles under my belt. Getting to the point it is no longer worth it. Just informed my truck insurance rates are going up yet again. Truck accidents are through the roof, due to the electronic logs and inflexible hours that we can actually work. No more fudging and taking our time, now it is hammer down and to heck with everything and everyone else. Not how I was trained, and you will see it out where you are if you drive the interstate, trucks speeding, cutting off cars, switching lanes, etc... Sad
Thank you for the reply.
That is what really angers me, I am being forced to do this. I have enough issues in my life right now, changing carriers at the moment and I am strapped financially to the point it is getting very very ugly. And now to be hit with this right out of the blue, and again threatened at having my license pulled if I do not comply. The only thing stable in my life right now is the cost of diesel fuel, LOL!
Thank you for the well thought out reply, and yes, having my employment threatened is beyond disturbing, along with the cost of tests and a possible CPAP machine purchase, I have no insurance as I am self employed, Obama took care of that, and was also the one that signed this SA nonsense into law after the congress passed it regarding my industry.
I have already had several friends tell me they will donate their own CPAP machines to me, as they simply played the game to keep working, they have never even taken them out of the box as they feel they do not need them. They were in the same boat as myself, go in for a DOT physical and find out you will be denied making a legitimate living due to your neck circumference, weight or BMI.
And I know I have an issue, it is my Thyroid, and the reason for my sudden weight gain. I have had ultrasounds and biopsies, it is a real issue, as I said prior, but does not affect my sleep. What is criminal to me is that I am being held hostage in regards to my work.
The federal government also mandated that I have a device in my truck, an ELD (Electronic Logging Device), it is a clock, it starts when I wake up, and then it is a race towards the end of the day not to surpass the time it allots me to work. Same thing, I cannot function under this gun. And then I get hit with this SA nonsense?
There is much more to this story and my frustrations, and stress. 30 years out here, ad they are killing the entire industry with regulations.
And as I stated earlier, I know there are real cases of SA, and it is great that there is a treatment, but don't shove it down my throat and then threaten my livelihood to feed an industry that in my opinion is selling snake oil.
I'm a truck driver, and quite honestly, I have never heard of anyone passing one of these SA tests. Truck drivers are the backbone of the SA industry, trust me on that. The test is designed to fail, unless you have a real history with very troubled sleeping I would dismiss the results and seek further medical attention as to what may be causing you to lose sleep. My first guess would be to have a complete and through Thyroid examination, and that is my issue, my thyroid, and it is not affecting my ability to sleep... But just the other day I was magically diagnosed with SA by a doctor by just looking at me. Sounds like voodoo to me, or as we used to say, snake oil.
Funny thing though, hyper and hypo thyroidism do match the SA symptoms almost to the letter. Just saying.