[Q&A] The Ongoing Importance of Drug Testing for the Healthcare Industry

Senior Director of Marketing

Last week, drug testing expert Nina M. French from the Current Consulting Group presented the important changes affecting healthcare employers’ drug testing programs during PreCheck’s webinar. In case you missed the live presentation, a recorded version is now available from our Resources Library.

While our presenter offered a very informative session, it is impossible to cover the complexity of employment drug testing in less than 60 minutes and attendees had many drug testing questions. The following are Nina French’s answers to the questions we were unable to address during the live Q&A portion of the webinar.

Q: You said 67% of employer policies do not adequately address employee drug use and abuse; how much of that 67% is healthcare?

A: The referenced survey did not provide data specified by industry.

Q: In a state where recreational marijuana is legal, is it legal to deny employment when someone tests positive at pre-employment?

A: Each state’s laws vary and case law is rapidly influencing this answer.  Without specifics it is not possible to respond with a yes or no. It is critical that your drug testing policy reflect the laws in each state in which you do business.

Q: Can you address hair follicle testing for Fentanyl?

A: The test panel available through each laboratory varies and it varies further by the testing methodology.  Check with your PreCheck representative to discuss the addition of Fentanyl in hair testing and make certain to explore options through a variety of laboratories.

Q: When we drug screen a candidate in Colorado for instance, who will be working at home, but we have an office in Texas, a candidate testing positive for marijuana is still hirable. Is that correct?

A: Without understanding your individual policy and testing requirements it is not possible to answer this question with confidence. Boulder, CO has specific laws that do not apply to the rest of the state. In general the resident of the candidate or employee is the policy that is applicable.  Policies need to be consistent across a company and applied consistently except where state law varies. Hiring someone who tests positive for marijuana opens a company up for negligent hiring suits and should be a policy that is approached with caution and evaluated across the entire organization.

Q: Should we be requiring new hires to complete and return the safety sensitive form from their physician. Currently it is not mandatory?

A: It is a recommendation based on best practice and your policy.  If your job descriptions reflect a legal definition for safety sensitive, the policy has been properly communicated to the employees, and the candidates and employees have acknowledged the require of an understanding of the disclosure policy as an obligation of hire and employment then it is a recommended best practice.

Q: Is drug testing at initial appointment and reappointment becoming standard of practice for Medical Staff Services? Who pays for the drug testing?

A: In most cases, contractors should fall under the standard corporate policy.  Requirements are impacted by state law so it is important that your policies are compliant for each state in which you do business. Payment of drug testing is almost always required by the employer however, that cost can be borne by the contracting agent in some cases.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes only. Readers retain full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein.

Nina M. French is the Managing Partner for the Current Consulting Group with over 25 years in employee screening. Nina has experience in managing drug-free workplace operations including product development, vendor management, medical review, client services, account management, marketing, and sales strategy.

PreCheck Drug Testing Resources Kit