...We are entering a new era of drug testing or in other words, welcome to a Brave New World...
eCCF for DOT Drug Testing...
E-CCF for DOT – Guidance Published and How to Interpret by Robert Schoening...
At long last, after a wait of almost a year, the Electronic Custody and Control Form (E-CCF) is approved by DOT for use by employers and service agents. There is a catch to this and that is the SAMHSA accredited laboratories have to be approved by SAMHSA National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) to use the E-CCF. If a laboratory is approved the use of the E-CCF can be implemented effective April 13, 2015 by regulated employers and service agents.
Why does there have to be SAMHSA/NLCP approval for use? NLCP is the laboratory inspection arm of SAMHSA and is responsible for approving all aspects of SAMHSA accredited laboratories. This includes the CCF and now the E-CCF. This approval will become part of the laboratory inspection process. It should be noted that the SAMHSA accredited labs are required to undergo a NLCP Inspection two times a year. Based on the preceding sentence, it will not be an overnight process for implementation of the E-CCF but it will be a process that can take up to a year. How many accredited laboratories are currently approved to use the E-CCF is unknown at this time but I expect that will change. Employers and service agents can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Many people, perhaps maybe questioning why is SAMHSA/NLCP involved in this process but the answer is simple. There was a Public Law passed in 1991 that requires DOT 49 CFR part 40 drug testing to be subject to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Agency Workplace Drug Testing. SAMHSA is the named agency on that Public Law. There will be an article in the future to discuss the impact of that Public Law on DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Program for regulated transportation employers.
The E-CCF is not required to be used and the paper CCF can continue to be used. The E-CCF can be used only after the accredited laboratory has been approved to use the E-CCF. The question now is how and when regulated employers and service agents know when a laboratory is approved?
Some concerns on this is the issue of confidentiality and security of the gathered information. This includes information gathered on the use of the paper CCF and E-CCF. There should be not only the physical security of records along with access controls but also computer security measures to safeguard electronic data. I posed this question of confidentiality security before on LinkedIn. This now becomes even more important with the use of the E-CCF. These electronic security measures will apply to all regulated employers and service agents.
It should be strongly noted that employers who use the E-CCF must ensure that the collection site(s), primary and split specimen laboratories and MRO have compatible systems in place. It is incumbent upon the employer to ensure that the above are in place.
A C/TPA that adopts use of the E-CCF has to make sure that all collection sites, any laboratories and MROs have compatible systems in place. That does includes the electronic security systems in place to prevent loss of data, be it accidental or as the result of being hacked.
It should be further noted that electronic signature are acceptable only with the use of the E-CCF. The use of electronic signatures is not allowed with the use of the regular or paper CCF.
More articles will follow on this but for right now we are entering a new era of drug testing or in other words, welcome to a Brave New World.
If there are question on this article or other articles, please contact the author at Rschoening@aol.com .
Robert Schoening is well renowned for his knowledge and influence in the drug-testing arena. Robert is currently a consultant for Workplace Drug Testing and Drug Abuse Prevention Programs. Robert has served on the Board of Directors of the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) as well as chairing the Governmental and Legislative Affairs committee. He was one of the first individuals to be recognized as an expert in the Drug and Alcohol testing industry and to receive designation as a Certified Substance Abuse Program Administrator (1996).