Many Carriers Switching Consortiums That Wont Help With CDL Clearinghouse
Choosing the right company to help manage your drug and alcohol testing program is not always a priority for companies. Now, owner-operators and other companies with FMCSA CDL drivers are realizing that their Consortium/Third Party Association (C/TPA) has decided not to register to the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to report results or run annual queries for their members.
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.”
Whether you are a trucking fleet, single owner-operator, large construction, or food preparation/serving company with CDL drivers regulated by the FMCSA, the choice is usually overlooked by more revenue-centric decisions. Without realizing, these companies will soon face stress, inefficiencies, extra costs, and time-consuming tasks within the testing process that could have been prevented in the first place.
The Clearinghouse has made this abundantly clear.
What If My Consortium Won’t Use The CDL Clearinghouse?
There are many things a good C/TPA should be doing. Not only should your program management company find a near-by collection site, they should manage the whole collection process.
This includes calling the collection site to notify your employee is coming, calling the MRO (Medical Review Officer) to check the status of the results, make sure data integrity of the paperwork is accurate (such as misspelled names, correcting the authority type, and testing reason), tracking down Chain of Custody Forms, and handle reporting results and running queries from the CDL Clearinghouse. This will help speed up the testing process.
Unfortunately, we have heard from motor carriers and compliance service companies that consortiums they are working with wants nothing to do with the CDL Clearinghouse.
This means the consortium is breaking the federal rules. For owner-operator, the consortium needs to report: refusal to test, including failure to appear; verified positive EBT above .039; negative Return-to-Duty test result; and completion of follow-up program.
Will these consortiums just close shop and leave their clients stranded to search for a new consortium? Maybe.
Basics In Evaluating A Best-In-Class Consortium
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 state program.
Your TPA should be experts in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Don’t just take their word for it. Look to see if they offer DER or Reasonable Suspicion Training. This is very important when certifying supervisors on what to look for and how to handle the testing process within your company, especially for DOT regulated companies that need to understand Part 382 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
It Is Time To Switch Consortiums
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.
Owner Operators are required to have a C/TPA to handle much of their drug and alcohol requirements and must select a C/TPA as their “designated consortium” to handle the CDL Clearinghouse reporting. Employers can choose to have a C/TPA to handle much of their drug and alcohol requirements, including the Clearinghouse, which helps drivers stay on the road.
Switch or join a Best-In-Class Consortium and let CleanFleet handle most of your drug testing and CDL Clearinghouse needs, 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?