How to Find Accessible Health Services for Professional Drivers On the Road

stethoscope on plastic heart

Professional truck drivers, leading a unique and often solitary lifestyle on the road for the majority of the year, face distinct challenges. While suggestions for maintaining health on the road have been discussed, the reality of falling ill while on the job poses a different set of challenges.

Urgent care clinics, found in various locations nationwide, offer a range of services from primary care, urgent care, and occupational health services. This includes Department of Transportation and pre-employment physicals, preventative care and wellness visits, vaccines, medication management, and more. And, these clinics are beginning to be established at truck stops, saving drivers both time and money, without sacrificing their health and wellness.

“Professional drivers need all the help they can get when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road,” said Joey Truscelli, CEO, Hello Alvin, former Marine and former owner of a Verizon IndyCar team. “Now, when drivers stop at a truck stop or travel center, like Love’s Travel Stops, to fill their tanks, grab a bite to eat and take a shower, they can also access convenient, affordable care 24/7. We are passionate about bringing professional drivers access to healthcare wherever they are, whenever they need it, at an affordable price. This is a national movement, and we are here to help.”

Patricia Smith, a nurse practitioner, operates in an UrgentCareTravel clinic at a Pilot Travel Center in Knoxville, Tn. This clinic, a collaboration between Pilot Flying J and UrgentCareTravel, serves a diverse clientele, including professional truck drivers who make up a significant portion of Patricia’s patients.

With long hours behind the wheel and sometimes sedentary lifestyles, truck drivers are prone to chronic health problems, impacting not only their well-being but also their ability to maintain a commercial driver’s license. Patricia’s approach involves managing these conditions and then guiding truckers toward healthier lifestyles. Approximately 60% of established patients reportedly make positive lifestyle changes, including improved eating habits, increased physical activity, and adherence to medication regimens.

“I think they’re motivated to stay healthy, and I also think it’s because they realize someone cares about them,” Smith said.

Mitch Strobin, vice president of service management for UrgentCareTravel, highlights the challenges drivers face in accessing medical facilities, often needing to navigate parking, transportation, and waiting times. UrgentCareTravel clinics share electronic records, allowing truckers to seek care at any of their locations.

“That’s four hours off the road,” Strobin said. “This is on the road, on their normal truck route. They can park their trucks right here and be here often because they need care for these conditions. It isn’t just a one-time visit; they need ongoing medical care.”

Interstate Health, launched in November 2022, addresses health and wellness disparities for commercial drivers, recognizing their increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

“We are thrilled to open our new clinic in the Racine Petro, a premier truck stop that not only serves commercial drivers, but also is a landmark for the villages of Sturtevant, Mount Pleasant, and Yorkville,” said Jeff Seraphine, Interstate Health chief executive officer. “Our mission is to ensure access to quality healthcare for people who frequent America’s highways. By offering urgent care, primary care, and occupational health services to the people who know and trust the Racine Petro, we believe we are fulfilling our mission in a meaningful way.”

UrgentCareTravel clinics, situated at truck stops, offer DOT physicals, drug screens, primary care services, and work-related injury services. Pilot Flying J’s partnership with UrgentCareTravel not only benefits truck drivers but also extends basic care to their family members.

Major truck stop chains like Pilot, Flying J, and TA-Petro have health clinics at select locations, providing in-person consultations with doctors or nurse practitioners. TA-Petro, with over 20 clinics across the United States, offers workout facilities through its StayFit program.

In addition to traditional medical services, these clinics offer health plans for drivers diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. These plans include educational materials, scheduled clinic visits, and monthly phone calls from nurse practitioners.

The convenience of accessing medical care at truck stops is evident, sparing truck drivers the need to take time off the road to travel to medical centers. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) estimates that if drivers could receive these services on the road, it would reduce the time spent seeking care by at least 1.5 hours, saving the industry over $700 million annually in lost productivity.

“We’re truly serious about getting drivers healthy, for their sake, for their family’s sake, and for their company’s sake,” Strobin said.

These medical clinics also disseminate a newsletter focusing on health and wellness information. With 48% of drivers facing conditions limiting their CDL to one year or less, health management becomes crucial. UrgentCareTravel’s strategic placement at truck stops addresses accessibility and affordability, acknowledging that parking challenges can hinder accessibility.

The TravelCenters of America, through TA, Petro, and TA Express locations, also contribute to driver health with onsite medical clinics providing DOT physicals, chiropractic services, and more. Walk-in and same-day appointments are available, reflecting the commitment to making health and wellness easily accessible for truckers on the road.



Source: Women in Trucking