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How the Electronic CCF Evolved Part 3

13 Oct 2014

DOT Electronic Chain of Custody Article Series by Robert Schoening, Former Drug and Alcohol Program Manager for the US Coast Guard ...

How the Electronic CCF Evolved Part 3

Read Part 1 of this Article
Read Part 2 of this Article

This is a continuation of how the Federal Electronic CCF (E-CCF) evolved soon-to be in place for use in the Federal Drug Testing arena.  For those that are not aware of the CCF ownership, the Federal CCF is owned by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and not DOT.

At the conclusion of the meetings in 1999, the workplace use of an electronic CCF was moving forward in the area of non-regulated drug testing.  The advances for this use were slow but progress was being made.  Sad to say, the Federal government and this writer were aware of these moves but in certain circles there was not a concerted effort to move forward on this concept.

Finally on June 3, 2009, Mr. Eric Quilter, at my request, made a presentation to the Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB).  I made this request to Eric after seeing the advances for an electronic CCF that Compliance Information Systems (CIS) demonstrated at some of the drug testing conferences.   I also felt that it was time for the Federal CCF to come of age.   Eric’s comments were met with a lukewarm response (my opinion) by the individuals in charge of the Office of Workplace Initiatives at SAMHSA/HHS at that time.

Some background at this point needs to be stated.  All Federal forms (those that have an OMB - Office of Management and Budget Number) have to be renewed every three years.  The Federal CCF has an OMB Number 0930-0158.  This review process includes all those tax forms that have to be completed each year that we dread to fill out.

This is a review process is required to be done by the OMB as part of the Paperwork Reduction Act.  Part of this process is a review of the Public Burden when completing a particular Form.   Public comment is sought by a notice in the Federal Register announcing when a Form is being renewed.  A notice was published in the Federal Register July 16, 2010 requesting public comment and as a result several public comments were received advocating for an Electronic CCF.  The CCF form was approved by OMB on August 29, 2010 with the following statement in the approval document:  “Prior to the next approval of this package, the Agency (SAMHSA) shall provide a progress update on adoption of electronic forms in an effort to reduce burden. SAMHSA is encouraged to explore ways to convert the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (Federal CCF) into an electronic form.”

On July 15, 2013, SAMHSA/HHS made a notice in the Federal Register announcing the submission of the Electronic CCF to OMB for approval.  This notice stated the following:  “In an effort to comply with the stated terms of the clearance requirement set forth by OMB, SAMHSA will authorize the use of an electronic Federal CCF. SAMHSA has resubmitted the Federal CCF with no content revisions to the form for OMB approval. The only revisions are to enable the form to be used as a paper form or as an electronic form.”

This submission of the Electronic CCF was received by OMB on July 24, 2013 for approval.  It was finalized with approval by OMB on May 31, 2014.  The following statement is on the approval document: HHS/SAMHSA shall update the docket with a final, signed version of the PIA (Privacy Impact Assessment), and it shall post the PIA for the general public.  HHS/SAMHSA shall finalize and post all guidance documents.”

The next steps are for the labs and service agents to implement the use of the Electronic CCF (E-CCF).  This is not going to happen overnight but will take some time and oversight by the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) to be fully implemented.  Another fact is that some of the Federal Agencies will have to develop processes to utilize the data contained in the E-CCF.

As further changes are expected with the advent of the E-CCF, more articles will be published as these developments occur.

Note:  Mr. Eric Quilter’s testimony to DTAB is available on the website for the Drug Testing Advisory Board. (http://162.99.3.215/DTAB/meetings.aspx) June 3, 2009, pages 45-49.

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The next article will be a discussion of the use of oral fluid in forensic workplace drug testing.

About Bob Schoening

Robert Schoening is well renowned for his knowledge and influence in the drug-testing arena. As the Drug and Alcohol Program Manager for the US Coast Guard (December 2001-March 2013) he developed and managed a successful drug testing program for the marine industry nationwide and internationally.  During this time he developed and implemented a new compliance audit checklist as well as the writing and publishing a new Marine Employers Guidebook for Drug Testing.  He is also the author of the federal regulation commonly known as the two-hour alcohol testing for maritime incidents.