3 Reasons to Outsource Healthcare Employee Drug Testing
For healthcare organizations, it may seem like a no-brainer to do employee drug testing on-site. After all, the equipment and expertise is there; why not save time and effort and have your own people do the job?
But there are plenty of good reasons for even healthcare organizations with the necessary facilities to outsource their employee drug testing. “The safest path for healthcare organizations to take is to rely exclusively on third-party drug testing providers when drug testing employees,” says Drew Lunt, Founder of EmploymentLawHandbook.com. “By outsourcing employee drug testing to third-party providers, healthcare providers gain significant protection and avoid the potential legal pitfalls of doing it themselves.”
Consider these advantages of outsourcing employee drug testing carefully as you decide whether to handle this important healthcare HR function on-site.
Outsourcing Drug Testing Protects Employees’ Privacy
Even when everyone involved in the drug testing process is completely above-board, having co-workers test each other can create the appearance of a conflict of interest. Outsourcing takes the personalization out of the process and ensures drug test results are analyzed by someone who doesn’t know employees, says Jay Shorr, Founder and Managing Partner of The Best Medical Business Solutions.
Employees who fail their drug test may accuse their employer of bias or tampering and file suit, Lunt says. Outsourcing the testing ensures third-party neutrality and eliminates even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
It Ensures HIPAA Compliance
Conducting employee drug tests on-site can create a HIPAA risk, Shorr says. Any information obtained during the drug test process may be considered protected health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Employers must also be aware of drug testing complexities that arise from the Americans With Disabilities Act, Lunt says. The ADA protects addicts who are in recovery or have recovered, and an experienced outsourcing partner can help you navigate the related legal requirements.
It Can Cut Costs
While cost isn’t always a big consideration in outsourcing drug testing, it can be a factor for some organizations. Depending on the size of your organization, it can be much more economical to outsource drug testing rather than to handle it in-house and have to hire a medical review officer specifically trained in drug and alcohol awareness, Shorr says.
Drug testing employees requires care and discretion. Healthcare organizations are careful and discreet by nature, but the added burden of potential conflicts of interest, the possibility of employee bias or abuse, and increased legal ramifications should give healthcare leaders pause when thinking about drug testing employees in-house.