If you’ve ever gotten a job, chances are, you’ve been drug tested. It seems simple enough: you go to the facility, give your sample, and in a day or so you get the results. Not surprisingly, the process is much more complex than what we see from the outside. Keep reading and we’ll explain the ins & outs of the chain of custody process!
Types of Drug Testing
There are two different types of drug testing: DOT (department of transportation) regulated and non-DOT regulated. What’s the difference? Simply put, a DOT regulated test is one required for a career field or job that falls under the umbrella of the DOT. This could apply to a variety of jobs, including some military reservist jobs, some NASA jobs, some jobs in the Department of Health Services, as well as truck driving, delivery services, and emergency services.
Non-DOT drug tests are often simpler and under less scrutiny than DOT drug tests. The purpose of them is to determine whether a job candidate meets the employer’s specific requirements for employment. Federal laws affecting the process of a non-DOT drug test are few, but there are many state laws and regulations that testing facilities must follow.
DOT affiliated drug testing tends to be more complex than non-DOT drug testing. Regardless of the DOT status of the drug test, the minute you give your sample at the testing facility (in whatever form it may be), the people involved are bound by certain policies and procedures that exist solely to protect your privacy and to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the drug test. For DOT testing, one of these procedures is the Chain of Custody form.
What is a Chain of Custody Form?
A Chain of Custody form, or set of forms, follows your sample from donation to resolution, and must be filled out accurately and truthfully at every step and on every copy. There are 5 sets, or copies, of the Chain of Custody Form. The first goes to the testing facility, the second goes to the Medical Records Review, the third to the collector, the fourth to your employer, and the fifth to you, the donor.
Why are there so many copies? Good question! In the medical field, two things are paramount after keeping you alive and healthy: keeping your medical information private and maintaining thorough records. We have an entire law dedicated to keeping your information private (HIPAA), and we have many, many policies and several laws outlining how many copies of what kinds of records we must keep and for how long. Basically, it’s a really huge deal. We have to know that everything involved in our caring for your health is documented so that if anything goes wrong, or if you simply switch doctors or facilities, we have documentation to prove what we’ve done. This kind of thorough record keeping helps prevent medication errors, unnecessary procedures, and overall ensures that we do our best to keep you healthy. Drug tests are not exempt from these laws and policies, and the same reasons apply. We document so heavily so we know that everything is accurate from start to finish, and that if something bad happens, we can pinpoint exactly where it started and fix it.
Can a Chain of Custody be Altered?
But how do we fix it? In the case of a drug test, we alter the Chain of Custody Form. Altering a Chain of Custody Form sounds kind of sketchy, but it’s actually the opposite. If there’s a problem with a Chain of Custody Form and it’s holding up the completion of a drug test, a professional collection site will alter, or correct, the Chain of Custody Form to ensure the results are released in a timely manner. The laws & policies addressing this allow a facility to ‘line through’ or cross out the incorrect information and legibly write in the correct information so they can complete the drug testing process. All they need is the proper documentation!
If you find yourself in need of a drug test, if you need drug testing for your employees, or if you need a Chain of Custody Form alteration, ProHealth Clinics can help! We offer drug testing services and are able to alter Chain of Custody Forms if provided proper documentation. To find out how to proceed with either of these, visit our website or give us a call!