What Your 3rd Party (TPA, C/TPA) Should Be Able To Do
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
The wrong choice in a service agent for your drug testing services may or may not cause ongoing problems, but it only takes one test to go bad for devastating consequences to occur.
As Joe Reilly, past Chairman and current board member of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) said in an article, “drug and alcohol testing is serious business; it is not like buying office supplies where you get the lowest price for 100 staplers. You need a drug testing program with many moving parts and you need service, compliance, accuracy and someone who will answer the phone.”
To save money, some drug testing administrators will avoid using certified laboratories, and will not provide comprehensive MRO services. In lieu of laboratory testing, some will even use instant testing kits not approved by the FDA for workplace testing. Others still will charge extra for integrity and confirmation testing. Is it worth exposing your company to needless liability to save a relatively small amount of money by taking shortcuts in the testing process?
Before you start looking for a TPA
You should clearly list what services you need. This will depend greatly on your operation. Ask yourself:
- Do you have DOT-regulated (Department of Transportation) employees?
- Do you have both DOT and non-DOT regulated employees?
- Are you in a state with Drug-Free Workplace program requirements?
- Do you operate in one state or multiple states?
As you answer these questions and clearly list what services you need, you can then start matching up qualified C/TPAs that can provide these services. The local doctors’ office that handles your employment physicals may also be qualified to collect urine specimens, but are they qualified to manage DOT and non-DOT programs in their entirety?
Basics in Evaluating a TPA:
Some of the basics in evaluating a prospective C/TPA to work with you help to ensure your employer drug testing program includes insurance coverage, qualification, experience, and the ability to handle your specific needs as an employer.
- A C/TPA that specializes and has knowledge of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug testing programs may not have the same knowledge and experience in managing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs.
- Depending on the state(s) in which you are located for your non-DOT drug testing program, the C/TPA must have knowledge of the state law and expertise in any state Drug-Free Workplace program requirements.
- Many states offer discounts on workers’ compensation insurance when the employer implements a comprehensive drug-free workplace program; if you are taking advantage of these programs and receiving the discount, you will want a C/TPA who has knowledge and experience with that particular state program.
Qualification and Experience
Knowing the basic services you need from a TPA, you are ready to ask some deeper questions on what qualifies them to do the job you need done for your specific needs. Ask the TPA to tell you:
- What makes them qualified?
- What is the TPA’s experience?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they service similar employers?
- Can the TPA provide you with references?
What a 3rd Party Should be able to do:
- Have relationships with labs that are SAMHSA certified
- Consolidated billing from collection, lab, and MRO
- Strong quality control in getting results corrected
- Track down documentation of the test
- Ensuring that the drugs tested match your company drug testing policies
- Submission of both positive and negative blind quality control specimens to laboratories testing for adulterants and dilution
- Certified Medical Officer Review (MRO) of all DOT results, negative or positive, with confidential reporting to a designated representative at your company
- Offers sample policies and policy development assistance
- Actually knows and tracks federal and state laws and regulations
- Offers guidance in complying with state and federal drug/alcohol testing laws
- Offers unlimited consulting and troubleshooting
- Has over 3,000 network testing locations throughout the nation
- Electronic Chain of Custody forms available
- Facilitates the setup of drug testing anywhere in the nation at no additional charge
- Offers DOT and Non-DOT supervisor training
- Has certified trainers (collection, BAT, STT) on staff
- Is a member of national drug testing, drug prevention organizations such as DATIA
- Will assist your company throughout a DOT audit, proving documentation you may need give you a heads up of what they may find
Employers need to protect themselves from non-compliance issues with regulatory authorities and also from exposure to liability. The wrong choice in a service agent for your drug testing services may or may not cause ongoing problems, but it only takes one test to go bad for devastating consequences to occur.
CleanFleet is a Best-In-Class TPA with the experience, training, staff, and certifications/accreditations needed to handle your company’s Drug Testing Program, no matter your industry. Call us today at 503-479-6082.
Remember: You don’t hire a plumber to do your electrical work, so why hire an urgent care clinic to do your drug testing?