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Drug Testing During a Pandemic: COVID-19 & Collection Site Safety

Guest Blog Post by Lori Lal
Senior Consultant for National Drug Screening, Inc

On March 23, 2020, the DOT provided guidance relating to drug testing concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. See https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/compliance-with-dot-drug-and-alcohol-testing-regulations.  The upshot is that DOT testing requirements remain in full effect and compliance is required. Click here for additional information: https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2020-03/DOT_Guidance_on_Compliance_with_Drug_and_Alcohol_Testing_Regulations.pdf

This guidance on DOT drug and alcohol testing for federally regulated transportation workers, as fleets and commercial drivers, may face challenges complying with regulations due to the pandemic. Additionally, the Covid-19 crisis has also added tremendous strain and additional demands on the trucking industry – made up of 3.5 million truckers in the United States – to keep the economy moving and provide essential supplies needed throughout the United States.

Truckers are still required to drug and alcohol test their employees under the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) for purposes of pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty, follow-up, and post-accident testing during these unrivaled times. Many truck drivers are understandably concern about potential health risks associated with the drug and alcohol collection and testing process. The DOT is advising employers to review their requirements for testing to determine whether there are options for collection and testing at a later date.

It is also possible that the DOT may even suspend testing at some later point given how rapidly the virus and our response to it is evolving. Until then, this guidance document begs the question of how collection sites are working to keep employee donors safe during the drug and alcohol collection and testing process.

HOW DO I GET STARTED ORDERING A DRUG TEST?

Drug testing is available in thousands of locations across the United States.  Whether you are an individual or an employer you can get a drug test with immediate services.  Call 866-843-4545 or order online.

Drug testing facilities are not conducting testing for Coronavirus.

WHAT STEPS ARE THE COLLECTION SITES TAKING TO KEEP YOU SAFE?

Quest Diagnostics -Patient Service Centers (PSC)

Most Quest Diagnostics PSC sites are open for testing. Quest laboratory locations are not testing for the COVID- 19 virus. Quest Diagnostics PSC sites are asking patients that need a drug test to sign-in at the site and at that time will be provided with a pager and asked to return to their car until they are paged for testing. Call your Service Provider for additional information or you can check on-line at: https://appointment.questdiagnostics.com/patient/findlocation.
Quest Diagnostics has provided a COVID-19 Update.

 LabCorp – Patient Service Centers (PSC)

Most LabCorp PSC sites are open for testing. The lab has implemented a testing protocol for their customers based on CDC guidelines and it is called the “Wait Where You’re Comfortable” program.  You can contact your Service Provider or you can make an appointment online at www.labcorp.com. Provide your cell phone number during registering, in order to receive a confirmation code. Once on site, check-in with that confirmation code and you can remain in the comfort of your vehicle until called by lab personnel. For additional information, go to https://www.labcorp.com/patient-service-center-initiatives-launched-to-protect-our-community.  LabCorp has provided a COVID-19 Update.


Preferred Provider Network (PPN)

Several large preferred provider networks with nationwide collection sites report that they are requiring all employee donors to first complete a COVID-19 questionnaire prior to testing. If answering “yes” to a fever or cough, the patient is asked to leave the site and go back to their vehicle. A physician will then immediately attend to the person to assess their condition. For drug testing donors that answer “no” to the questionnaire, they will be asked to remain in the lobby until called into the back office area. Social distancing with a minimum of 6 feet from any other persons is highly recommended by the CDC.

Increased Sanitation and Disinfection

Almost all collection sites are also following CDC approved protocols for increased sanitation and disinfection using hospital grade disinfectants and also frequently cleaning surfaces in patient service centers, including the check-in area, waiting rooms, bathrooms, and hallways.

Collection sites are accepting their roles of increased awareness and responsibilities toward everyone’s safety. In conjunction with accepted CDC guidelines such as extra deep sanitizing, wait in vehicles until ready, pagers, questionnaires and other social distancing tools, employers, TPAs, Service Agents, and other parts of the team can feel confident that the employee donors will be tested with minimal risk to their safety.

Drug Testing in these Times is about Safety