Firm setting up clinics for truckers

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Medical care for the nation’s long-haul drivers may one day be as close as the next truckstop. The first of a planned chain of “medical depots” has opened at the Petro Stopping Center facility near Knoxville, Tenn., in one of the busiest trucking lanes in the country, according to the Associated Press.

“We’re a service that they can just walk over and if they’ve got issues and need to see a doc, they need to get prescription refills, we can take care of that,” says Bill Buzbee, chief operating officer of Professional Drivers Medical Depots. The clinics will provide Department of Transportation physicals, drug screening, breath-alcohol testing, treatment for injuries and illness, flu shots and pneumonia vaccines.

Knoxville-based PDMD, which opened the clinic on Monday, Jan. 15, plans to set up 60 to 80 medical depots across the country by 2010. It’s also establishing a Professional Drivers Medical Group to give drivers access to affiliated hospitals near each depot, the AP reported.

“It’s amazing that long-haul drivers are such an overlooked group, considering they deliver 70 percent of all freight in the United States,” Buzbee says. “This group of professionals has health issues unlike any other, and these drivers are not receiving the care they need. Our plan is to change that.”

A survey of 1,500 drivers found more than half have difficulty using health care services at home, and more than two out of five lack a regular health care provider, Buzbee says.