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Workplace Drug Testing

Is your company searching for a workplace drug testing program, or do you need help developing one? I Drug Screen has partnered with Nationwide Testing Association to offer employer programs for drug and alcohol testing, drug-free workplace policy development, and consulting services for small and large companies across the United States. Our employer drug testing programs are designed to comply with Federal and State laws and reduce the employer’s exposure to liability.

Our compliance instructors are retired DOT auditors and CVSA certified Hazardous Material Instructors. We can ensure you are compliant even beyond drug and alcohol testing through their instruction.

Substance abuse in the workplace is not only unsafe; it can cost your company a lot of money, whether it be from workman comp claims, excessive absenteeism, or increased health care costs. By implementing a drug-free workplace policy, you are protecting your employees and your business.

Learn more about how we can help you create a comprehensive workplace drug testing program. Call 800.385.1417 or contact us for an employer drug testing account.

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Consortium/Third-Party Administrator (CTPA)

I Drug Screen's parent company, Nationwide Testing Association, is a Consortium/Third-Party Administrator. Being a C/TPA means that we manage all, or part, of our client's DOT drug and alcohol testing program. Our goal as a C/TPA is to guide our clients in safety and regulatory compliance.

As a DOT Consortium, we play a unique service agent role for our owner operator and single driver clients. While 40.355 (K) prohibits service agents from serving as "designated employer representatives" (DER), the consortium is authorized to perform many employer functions for you. Larger DOT-Regulated employers may choose to be part of our consortium or request a stand-alone DOT random testing program.

As a Consortium/Third Party Administrator (C/TPA), I Drug Screen provides services for thousands of employers across the United States. The term consortium refers to a random testing program where groups of employers join together to participate in a managed random testing program that a TPA or C/TPA most often manages.

Would you like to learn more about our programs? Learn More!

We are the industry leader for DOT, Department of Transportation, compliant drug and alcohol testing programs, as well as our program administration, and customer service! Would you like to learn why? Contact us for more information!

Why do employers drug test?

Alcohol and drug abuse creates significant safety and health hazards and can result in decreased productivity and poor employee morale. It also can lead to additional costs in the form of health care claims, especially short-term disability claims.

Common reasons employers implement drug testing are to:

  • Deter employees from abusing alcohol and drugs
  • Prevent hiring individuals who use illegal drugs
  • Be able to identify early and appropriately refer employees who have drug and/or alcohol problems
  • Provide a safe workplace for employees
  • Protect the general public and instill consumer confidence that employees are working safely
  • Comply with State laws or Federal regulations
  • Benefit from Workers’ Compensation Premium Discount programs

How is drug testing conducted and how accurate is it?

Generally, most private employers have a fair amount of latitude in implementing drug testing as they see fit for their organization, unless they are subject to certain Federal regulations, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) drug-testing rules for employees in safety-sensitive positions. However, Federal agencies conducting drug testing must follow standardized procedures established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

While private employers are not required to follow these guidelines, doing so can help them stay on safe legal ground. Court decisions have supported following these guidelines, and as a result, many employers choose to follow them. These Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing (also called SAMHSA’s guidelines) include having a Medical Review Officer (MRO) evaluate tests. They also identify the five substances tested for in Federal drug-testing programs and require the use of drug labs certified by SAMHSA.

The most common method of drug testing, urinalysis, can be done at the workplace (at a health unit, for example), a doctor’s office or any other site selected by the employer. An employee or applicant provides a sample to be tested. Usually, precautions are taken, such as putting blue dye in the toilet and turning off the water supply, to prevent adulteration or substitution of specimens so that collection can be completed in privacy without any direct visual observation by another person.

Under SAMHSA’s guidelines, once a sample is provided, it is sent to a certified laboratory. The accuracy of drug tests done by certified laboratories is extremely high, but this certification applies only to the five substances tested for in Federal drug-testing programs and alcohol.

Below are certain procedures required by SAMHSA’s guidelines to ensure accuracy and validity of the testing process:

  • Chain of Custody: A chain-of-custody form is used to document the handling and storage of a sample from the time it is collected until the time it is disposed. It links an individual to his or her sample and is written proof of all that happens to the specimen while at the collection site and the laboratory.
  • Initial Screen: The first analysis done on a sample is called an initial screen. This one test alone is not always accurate or reliable; there is a possibility of a false positive. Thus, in the event that the initial screen is positive, a second confirmatory test should be done.
  • Confirmation Test: A second, confirmation test (by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry or GC/MS) is highly accurate and provides specificity to help rule out any falsepositives (mistakes) from the initial screen. For a test result to be reported as positive, the initial screen and confirmation test results must agree.
  • Split Sample: A split sample is created when an initial urine sample is split into two. One sample is used for the initial screen and, if positive, the second sample is used for the confirmation test. If there is a positive result, the individual being tested may request the confirmation test be done at a different laboratory.

DOT's alcohol and drug-testing regulations require all tests be performed using a “split sample” collection process. In the event that the initial screen and confirmation test are both positive, MRO, a licensed medical doctor who has special training in the area of substance abuse, then reviews the results, makes sure the chain-of-custody procedures were followed, and contacts the individual to make sure there are no medical or other reasons for the result. It is only at this point that the MRO may report a positive test result to the employer. Certain medications can sometimes cause a positive result. If this is the case, and a doctor prescribed the medicine and the employee used it in the proper amount, the test is reported as negative.

What is the Medical Review Officer?

A Medical Review Officer (MRO) is a licensed physician responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer’s drug testing program. Regulations require that Medical Review Officers have knowledge about the pharmacology and toxicology of prescriptions as well as illicit drugs. An MRO should also have knowledge of the federal agency drug testing regulations and guidelines from the Department Of Transportation. As a Medical Review Officer (MRO), we must act as an independent and impartial “gatekeeper” and advocate for the accuracy and integrity of the drug testing process. Nationwide Testing Association, Inc., is required to review the documents for possible errors, interview donors who have non-negative results to determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for their results, and provide feedback to employers regarding performance problems, if necessary.

At Nationwide Testing Association, Inc., our Medical Review Officers (MRO) are certified by a nationally recognized MRO certification board. We ensure that our MROs maintain their certifications by retaking and passing the exam every five years.

Medical Review Officer (MRO) Process

The first part of the process is the collection; the employee/donor/applicant will go into the collection site to provide the required specimen. The collection site will follow applicable protocols and will ship the specimen, along with the lab copy of the Custody and Control Form (CCF), to the laboratory to begin testing. The collection site should also transmit the Medical Review Officer and the DER copy of the CCF to the correct parties.

Once the laboratory receives the specimen, they will begin conducting the required testing. Once completed, the laboratory will transmit the results to the MRO to review and report.

After the Custody and Control Form (CCF) is received, the donor's name and id number are entered into the system. The Custody and Control Form is then processed so that it will link to the result.

When the lab results are received through an electronic interface, they are immediately downloaded into our system. During this process, the result links to the client, the donor record, and the Custody and Control Form. The system will also determine an applicable status for the result based on pre-set identifiers and criteria. If the lab result is non-negative the system will automatically assign that result to our Medical Review Office, they are then reviewed by our Medical Review Officers. Each donor with a non-negative result will have the opportunity to speak with an MRO regarding their results.

If the lab result is negative, they will report to the company automatically through the system. If the laboratory results appear positive, the MRO will interview the donor to discuss the results and then the final report will be distributed to the company. The medical review process offers an opportunity for the donor to provide a valid medical explanation for any questionable results. Our process is designed to protect individuals and employers from wrongful accusations. We exceed all federal and state regulations and help you maintain a safer workplace!

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