Over-the-road Doctor

Topic 29581 | Page 1

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Rudy B.'s Comment
member avatar

I am a physician, board-certified in emergency medicine but also residency-trained in internal medicine. I am also in CDL school at the moment, and although I will admit that I suck at backing a combination vehicle I am not that terrible at shifting since I have driven a manual transmission for 28 years. Yes, I will admit, I do have some bad habits with regards to transitioning from my 6-speed diesel pickup to a 10-speed semi. Double clutching is, shall we say, different. Regardless, let's just say that this virus currently spreading around the globe has completely trashed my business plan as a doctor and I rapidly need to think of a new business plan. Here it is:

I drive to truck stops with a trailer converted to a medical office and you can just pop in for a visit. For my comfort, the trailer/office is equipped to do the emergency procedures I am used to performing. If you try to die on me, I try to save your life while waiting for an ambulance to get you to a hospital. Yes, expect a bill. No, it will be nowhere near what a hospital would charge. However, I can't drive and do CPR at the same time, so you very likely will still need a hospital. For your comfort, I can go wherever you as a community need me (within reason - state licenses to practice medicine are very expensive). As I am licensed in multiple states already, but as federal law further complicates things, let's just say for example that I can do some very basic lab tests (electrolytes, hemoglobin, kidney tests) and maybe some other tests, if necessary.

Would you even want to see a doctor who knows at least a little about trucking, owns a truck and trailer, and drives OTR? I'm not talking about getting your fed med card from me. I don't do that. I'm talking about routine or urgent issues including things like stitching and splinting.

Would you be interested in seeing such a doctor by telemedicine (so long as you are actually in a state where I am licensed)?

The big question is how much would you think such a service would be worth to you?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

* LIKE (and following.)

My other half says yes... waiting for further replies here. A roadside doc w/a CDL sounds awesome, tbh!

Thanks, I'll watch for the seasoned drivers' replies, then!

~ Anne ~

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Finding your patients in time of need would be difficult. It is an interesting concept.

How would I know you are nearby?

What is your advertising plan?

Legally would you be permitted to conduct business on private truck stop property since many say "no outside vendors"?

How far are you willing to drive to meet me?

How would the tele-doctor work? As a separate app or with Zoom? Many companies already use apps for virtual health care which also accept our medical insurance.

My suggestion might be to find a company willing to refer drivers to you or even base you at their terminal. I work at prime and we have a medical office, chiropractor and sleep lab in the terminal...as well as fitness trainers, nutritionists, and even accountants.

Good luck with your plans.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

It's an interesting concept and I commend you for thinking out of..well, inside of the 53 foot box. I for one think you will lose your shorts in this endeavor. The logistics of being where your patients are at the exact time they are in need of emergency or urgent care is just a nightmare. There are already truckstops with medical clinics in their parking lots as well as urgent care clinics and hospitals in every city of every state we can pull into if the need arises. If I break a leg or have some other emergency I'm sure an ambulance will pick me up way sooner than you can get to me. You will still have the ELD time restrictions as you are still a commercial vehicle so if you run out of time do I wait till you've completed a reset? Telemedicine can easily be done with our family physician. Most people still have a home and take home time and can get the tests you mentioned while home. The costs involved with buying a tractor and a trailer then outfitting it for medical use would be astronomically high and I don't believe you'd ever recoup that expense alone much less actually make a salary. In my opinion you have a solution searching for a problem that doesn't exist. The only way you might get a little business is by actually offering a $79 dot med certification. Like they say on Shark Tank, I dont see this as a successful business and I don't see how I'd ever get my investment back so for those reasons...I'm out...and you should be also.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Not to mention how much money you would spend on other doctors trying to get your bleeding stopped, because you would just be hemorrhaging money.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

The biggest thing that comes to mind for me is insurance, both yours and what would you accept from a perspective patient?

I'm retired military, thus having excellent plans for low costs available to me. In trucking, I'm an exception because I would say the majority of drivers do not have great coverage, and I would bet a large percentage have no coverage.

What I'm pointing out is the prices are going to be the main point for the patient. Too high and they will likely pass on the medical care, unless it were truly an emergency.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Dr Rudy, I hope you feel the negative vibes here. Not that anyone has anything against truck-driving physicians, but the practicality of it. Your experience as an ER doc would help you run the urgent care facility you plan to drive. Following up with patients would be impractical beyond telehealth visits. Also keep in mind there's a ton of paperwork involved with insurance billing and documentation. Do you plan to handle this yourself? I'll bet your largest case load would be in DOT physicals (worth about $100 each)

Finally, should you happen upon a roadside emergency, the local paramedics will look dimly on a stranger walking up and saying "I'm a physician."

Dr Rudy, stick with medicine. I do believe your learning and skills would be better employed full time in the medical field. At this time, COVID is creating a huge demand for medical personnel. After this settles down, I am sure you will find a place to help others. I know there are traveling nurses, I'm sure traveling physicians are a thing, too.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Pacific Pearl's Comment
member avatar

Sounds more like a t.v. show than a business plan. There are so many logistical hurdles involved in treating a mobile customer/patient pool. Medical emergencies are going to be fewer per capita in the driving population than the general population - that's what the medical certificate is supposed to screen for anyway.

I'm in Seattle today. If you were to setup in Laramie on Tuesday when I would actually be passing through Laramie, how would I know you would be there? How would we schedule an appointment? If something were bothering me, why wouldn't I just take care of it with my family doctor in Seattle before I left? Heck of lightning strike for me to experience a medical emergency while passing through Laramie and bump into you BEFORE I called an ambulance or steered my truck to a hospital.

From the practicing medicine in a truck perspective - If you thought commercial real estate was expensive to rent, try running a clinic in a truck. You'll have all the medical expenses AND around $1.38/mi in operating costs AND $1,000/wk in liability insurance for the truck. Are you going to have office staff on the truck to bill insurance, greet patients and all the non-medical stuff or pay them to operate from a fixed location? So, higher operating costs, difficulty meeting up with patients, insurance hassles and competition. Yes, there's tele-health and about a dozen other apps drivers can use for <$100/call if they have insurance but there's also these guys. Fixed locations in truck stops, Nurse Practitioners providing care for $40/month, no co-pay, no deductible.

Would I want to see a CDL doctor? No. Would I want to have a beer with you and hear your stories? Yes. Would I watch the t.v. show? YES! Stick with CDL-free medicine.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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