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Mistakes People Make – Specimen Collection

Mistakes People Make - Specimen Collection

Last updated on October 6th, 2020 at 01:32 pm

Mistakes People Make

By Joe Reilly, Joe Reilly & Associates, Inc

This will be a series of articles that will highlight actual mistakes that occur during the process of workplace drug & alcohol testing.  The intent of these articles is to alert folks as to the importance of taking the time to perform drug and alcohol testing services correctly and without flaws.  Of course proper training and consistent re-training is the key to preventing the mistakes that will be discussed.  As is commonly heard in this industry, the point of collection, the collector and the collection process are the “weakest links” in the process.  So this first article will focus on mistakes made in the collection process; continuing articles in the upcoming editions of DATIA Focus will highlight mistakes made by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) office, the Designated Employer Representative (DER), the laboratory (Lab), the third party administrator (TPA), the donor and perhaps even others.  Make sure you or your organizations are not doing what you will be reading about in these articles.

As a collector you leave your current place of employment where your DOT required specimen collector training was conducted.  This employer says that they can withhold your training documentation since they provided the training.  This is not true, always upon completing specimen collection training and/or completing your proficiency demonstration immediately get copies of the documentation of this training and the completion of your required mock collections, you are required to keep this documentation

Often the collector does not inspect the collection site prior to and after each collection, this is critical to insuring the integrity of the specimen collection. Many collectors just do the initial inspection when they start their day at their collection site and are not attentive to re-checking it before and after donors void a specimen.  Section 40.43 of 49 CFR Part 40 outlines the steps operators of collection sites must take to protect the security and integrity of the specimen including inspecting the collection site area both before and after each collection.

My friend Sherri Vogler with Houston Medical Testing Services, Inc. (HMTS) is a master trainer for the Drug & Alcohol Industry Association (DATIA) and has trained and re-trained many hundreds of collectors. Sherri reports a couple of issues she has heard of.  “A manager was walking down the hall and passed by and saw a collector sticking his finger in the urine.  After the donor left, the manager asks the collector what was going on and why he had his finger in the urine.  The collector said that the urine container strip showed a temperature, but that he did not think that it was right, so he stuck his finger in the urine to check the temperature and that he did not see anything wrong with that.   –   One other experience that I have had is this…….I got a call for Refresher Training from a clinic and I asked what had caused a fatal flaw.  The manager told me that a collector had a shy bladder situation that went over the three hours.  The collector asks the manager what should be done at that point.  The joint decision was made to send the Laboratory Copy of the Custody and Control Form (CCF) sealed in the bag without a specimen to the laboratory.  Of course, the lab canceled the test due to no specimen!”  If you have an opportunity to take a DATIA Certified Professional Collector Training (CPCT) course, you will be delighted to meet Sherri as she is a great trainer and a true professional in this industry.

Diana Bauske from Chem Chek, Co., Inc in Richardson Texas coordinates collections all over the United States; with many years of experience she is dedicated to the highest standards for this industry.  Diana reported that one of her biggest frustrations with collectors occurs when they don’t adequately note the remarks concerning a shy bladder collection.  Many times she sees in the remarks “shy bladder” and no other remarks.  More information is needed.  The collector should actually maintain a record in the “Remarks”” line on the CCF of the time of each attempt