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May 2016

Idaho Transportation Department developed innovative electronic medical card reporting program

Although necessary, the process of filling out certified medical cards for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders and filing them with state driver licensing agencies is not always efficient for medical examiners, drivers and DMV employees alike. So the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) looked for a solution to streamline the process, and today it utilizes an innovative approach that makes the entire operation much more convenient.

In partnership with POD, Inc., the ITD developed a program that electronically transfers medical card data for CDL holders from physicians’ offices directly to the ITD—at no cost to the state. The electronic medical card reporting program, MedCert, has been so successful that the ITD won a 2015 AAMVA Trailblazer Award for it. This annual award is bestowed upon an individual or jurisdiction agency that implements innovative changes that positively affect the agency and/or community.

“We were pleased with the way the program was envisioned and the way it was rolled out,” says Ed Pemble, program manager for the Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Motor Vehicles. “We had no money at all; we just had the idea. We paid nothing to develop this outside system, and it wasn’t a great deal of work.”

In 2012, ITD sent out a request for information (RFI) on vendor capabilities to electronically send and post all medical card data securely to its records. POD, Inc. responded to the RFI, and together they developed MedCert, a solution that met—and in some cases exceeded—expectations.

Medical examiners who register with MedCert pay a small fee to either enter medical card data into the system or have POD, Inc. enter the data, and the information is sent directly to ITD and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Physicians and CDL holders do not need to worry about personally bringing or sending medical cards to either establishment, which saves everyone time, helps to manage records better and reduces readability errors from manual re-entries.

“We think the fact that we were able to get something like this that doesn’t cost the state anything is amazing,” Pemble says.

So far, 52 physicians have registered with MedCert, a majority of them from Primary Health Medical Group. Pemble says ITD sent out letters to every physician on the licensed medical examiner list for Idaho, as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, so more providers may join in the future. Pemble estimates that ITD receives around 750 electronic medical cards per month. 

Originally, the ITD planned on opening up the program to additional vendors that wanted to provide the service to other jurisdictions. However, with the FMCSA’s announcement of National Registry II, which will have new requirements for medical card reporting and a new system, states may be deterred from beginning programs of their own.

“We did see the program as transferable to other states, but conditions do change—in this case FMSCA has a different vision now,” Pemble says. “But we still feel happy that we did this. We will definitely keep using the program right up until we turn on that new system with National Registry II. So we’re going to get great benefit out of this in the long haul.”