News

Winter Storm Stella May Cause Delays

by Pablo Bolanos on March 14, 2017

The National Weather service has issued winter storm warnings throughout the northeast, with likely impacts including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. In addition, blizzard warnings have also been issued from northeast New Jersey to far southeast New York and southern Connecticut.

Be aware that this hazardous storm may impact the logistics and transportation of workplace drug testing specimens as well as supplies like chain of custody forms and drug testing kits. FedEx has prepared contingency plans to handle weather-related service disruptions and we will continuously monitor how specimen shipments may be impacted and potentially redirected in the coming days.

This unpredictable weather may affect our Patient Service Centers as well as preferred collection locations; therefore we suggest you check our website or call ahead to verify service hours for any drug test collection location in these regions as they may adjust their hours of operation because of the storm.

In the coming days, telephone wait times may be longer than usual as we assist clients inquiring about the status of specimens impacted by weather. We appreciate your patience as our dedicated team continues to put clients first and show that we’re there when you need us.

As it relates to total snowfall accumulations for the area affected by winter storm Stella, the National Weather Service estimates the following at the time of this publication:

  • A foot of snow is expected in Albany, NY; Boston, MA; Hartford, CT, New York City, NY; Portland, ME; Scranton, PA; and Worcester, MA and much of the northeast
  • Snowfall rates of 1-4 inches per hour are possible during the height of the storm in the most intense bands
  • Blizzard or near-blizzard conditions, with wind gusts to 50mph, may occur Monday night through Tuesday in the blizzard warning area
  • Poor travel conditions will also exist in other parts of the northeast due to gusty winds causing blowing snow and low visibility

If you need assistance, please contact our National Customer Support Center at EmployerSolutions.com/support or by phone at 1.800.877.7484.

Revisions to Federal Workplace Drug Testing

by Nicole Jupe on February 10, 2017

On January 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. More specifically, the notice expanded federal urine workplace drug testing to include four Schedule II drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. The effective date for the revised Guidelines is October 1, 2017. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) also published a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend 49 CFR Part 40 to harmonize with HHS to expand its federal drug testing panel. There is a 60-day comment period with a deadline of March 24, 2017 for these DOT proposed rules.

In addition to adding four Schedule II opioids to regulated drug testing programs, the notices included several minor changes: adding MDA as an initial test analyte and removing MDEA for confirmatory testing. The revised HHS Guidelines also raise the lower pH cutoff from 3 to 4 to identify an adulterated specimen and allow the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to recommend the collection of an oral fluid specimen in certain situations, as permitted by agency policy. The proposed DOT rules would also eliminate the requirement for employer blind specimen testing and updates some MRO training/re-certification requirements.

We wanted to answer some of your most common questions regarding this announcement.

  • When will the DOT require these Schedule II drugs as part of its panel?
    The public comments on the proposed DOT rules are due March 24, 2017. It is anticipated that the DOT will publish rules that are harmonized with HHS with an effective date of October 1, 2017. This timing would be dependent on the number and content of the comments as well as the regulatory process.
  • What will be the name of this drug test panel?
    Based on the past implementation of the August 16, 2010 (effective October 1, 2011) harmonized DOT rules that added additional analytes, the DOT still considered the test a “5‑panel” drug test. Until the final rules are published, the name of the revised drug test panel is unknown. However, Quest Diagnostics will utilize a new order code for this new drug test panel. All of our DOT ordering accounts will be automatically updated to this new order code and panel name on the effective date of the new rules.
  • Can I start testing our DOT employees now? What about non-regulated drug testing?
    No because changes may still be made to DOT or other regulated drug testing until the effective date of their respective requirements. Non-regulated testing of prescription (“expanded”) opiates is already permitted in compliance with applicable state laws and regulations. Approximately 15 percent of our non-regulated opiate drug testing currently includes these prescription opiates.

We work to continually refine our laboratory testing to comply with changing regulations and as part of our commitment to quality and scientific innovation. Stay up to date with this regulation and other industry news on our website, blog, and social media communities.

Read the HHS revised guidelines in the Federal Register

We encourage everyone to read the DOT Proposed Rules and comment.

View the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ for urine testing positivity data.

For more information, contact your sales representative or contact us online.

Clarifying the New OSHA Post-Accident Drug Testing Regulations

February 3, 2017 Drug Testing

New regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses became effective on December 1, 2016. The regulations prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses (OSHA 29 CFR 1904). Although drug and alcohol testing was not mentioned in the Final Rule […]

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2017 Random Testing Rate

December 21, 2016 News

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced last week that the minimum annual drug testing rate will remain at 25 percent for 2017. Visit the ODAPC website to see a helpful graphic, which outlines the annual minimum drug and alcohol random testing rates established within DOT Agencies and the United States […]

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Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Aims to Make Roads Safer

December 8, 2016 Drug Testing

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a final rule that “establishes a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial truck and bus drivers. The clearinghouse database will serve as a central repository containing records of violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program by commercial driver’s license (CDL) […]

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Shortage of Drug-Free Job Applicants

December 2, 2016 Drug Testing

Many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find applicants who can pass a pre-employment drug test. According a recent article in Briefings magazine, “the country has a growing drug problem, and it is spilling over into the workplace in ways many companies doing large-scale hiring have not anticipated.” Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of […]

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What happens after November 8?

November 7, 2016 Drug Testing

During this election season, our news feeds, televisions, inboxes, and water cooler conversations have been dominated by the 2016 race to the White House and the potential impacts our country will see with new leadership. This heightened awareness has transformed into what some mental health professionals are now identifying as “election anxiety” for both Republicans […]

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Red Ribbon Week: October 23-31

October 23, 2016 News

Sponsored by the National Family Partnership, Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the U.S. Since 1985, parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the deaths and destruction caused by drugs. Red Ribbon Week (October […]

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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

October 14, 2016 News

Many people use prescription medications as part of their daily routine to help treat disease and improve their health. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the most frequently prescribed drugs fall in the “therapeutic class,” which includes Analgesics, Antiheperlipidemic agents,  and Antidepressants like Zoloft and Lexapro. Prescription painkillers are […]

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Finding the ‘Root’ of Prescription Drug Addiction

October 11, 2016 News

Genetics, smoking, drug abuse, sugar, and home care routines like brushing and flossing can all play a role in the health of your teeth. What happens if you face an issue? Depending on the severity, it may be as simple as your dentist filling a cavity or more invasive treatments such as a root canal […]

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