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AARP: Coach USA Diabetes Policy Change Good For Working Seniors In NV

PHOTO: AARP is applauding Coach USA's diabetes policy change which reduces the chance of older drivers with a milder form of the disease being suspended. Photo courtesy of Clark County, Nevada.
PHOTO: AARP is applauding Coach USA's diabetes policy change which reduces the chance of older drivers with a milder form of the disease being suspended. Photo courtesy of Clark County, Nevada.
February 6, 2014

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - AARP is calling a recent change in diabetes policy at a major tour bus operator a big win for older workers in Nevada and across the nation. Coach USA, which conducts tours in Nevada, recently changed its medical protocol for testing drivers for non-insulin-treated diabetes.

Daniel Kohrman, senior attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation, explained that the company basically improved a policy that previously could suspend drivers who might have the mildest form of diabetes but are capable of doing their jobs. Prior to the policy change, he said, some Coach USA drivers had to deal with being out of work for months at a time.

"When older workers lose their job, they take about 50 percent longer to find another job than younger workers - on average, nearly a year. It is devastating to lose a job, altogether, for an older worker."

Kohrman said Coach USA made the changes voluntarily, following years of litigation on the matter in which his organization acted as co-counsel for the plaintiffs. According to Coach USA, the company has about 2,500 buses on the road and employs about 3,000 drivers.

Federal regulation of drivers with diabetes is geared toward those using insulin, Kohrman said, adding that the drivers who sued Coach used methods other than insulin - such as tablet medications, diet and exercise - to manage their diabetes. Kohrman said AARP Foundation Litigation is hoping other companies will also change or improve health policies that wrongly fault employees with disabilities that don't affect their work performance.

"We are hopeful if we find more cases, as we suspect are out there, we will be able to persuade companies that there's a better way of doing things. If Coach can agree to a better way, then other companies can, too," he said.

Don Carmichael with Coach USA said the new policy is a win for all parties involved and is designed to keep healthy drivers on the road, protect passengers and the public, and make sure that drivers who need medical attention get it.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV