I have been given the honor of being a guest blogger for Kerstin’s Global Screening Tips. As a fellow cat lover, I was the purrfect choice for this month. Kerstin will be back next month and will continue sharing her expertise in global screening as well as stories on Shackleton and Tolstoy.
I would like to introduce you to my precious Falkor, who will help me deliver 10 pawsome facts about drug screening abroad:
- It is not easy. This one is self-explanatory, but oh so true. Very similar to the background check side of things, a simple question of what drugs you want tested can prove to be challenging to answer. What if the drugs you want to test for are legal in the country you are testing in, but not in the U.S.?
- The testing laboratory does not necessarily have to be SAMSHA Is it a U.S. company testing someone globally or is it a global company testing employees in their own country? The answers to these questions will determine the pawsibility that the specimen can be tested in another country or whether it has to be shipped back to the U.S. There are major drug screening laboratories in the UK, India, Mexico, and Australia.
- With collection capabilities in over 80 countries, you will need to know the cities you need a test in. Just saying “France” will not suffice. Be prepared to share with your supplier the exact cities in the countries you need. Having the expected quantity will also be important as the process will change if it’s a one off or if it will be a steady weekly/monthly flow of collections. Some facilities may only collect if certain mewnimum volumes are met.
- Communication can be slow. When doing global collections, email is the purrferred means of passing information. It is the fastest and most accurate way to inform the applicant, collection site, laboratory, and CRA of what is happening and the current status. Keeping in mind, with time zones and international holidays, it can take 24-72 hours before an email may be replied to. This is not out of the norm.
- Communication can be difficult. Before you send that email, you want to make sure the recipients are litterate in the language. The applicant may speak English, but the collector may only speak French or German. Having this information at the start will reduce the possible chance of delays in the process. Sometimes you will need to have the instructions in the email in multiple languages to ensure a quick turn-around time.
- Urine screening is the most common means for drug screening globally. Other testing methods may be used, such as hair and oral fluid, but urine is by the far the most common and easiest to facilitate.
- Using email and knowing what languages everyone speaks is also key during the Medical Review Office (MRO) process. If a test is pawsitive, how is the MRO contacting and talking to the applicant? Do they speak the same language? Are they speaking via phone, skype, or email? Anticipating these possible speed bumps in advance will ensure a smoother testing process.
- Shipping, handling, and customs can be tricky. Issues can arise from the shipping of empty kits and forms to a country, as well as shipping urine specimens out of one country and into another. Bills of lading filled out incorrectly can keep specimens at customs for days or weeks. Dealing with a reputable supplier who has experience in this type of shipping is key to making it work.
- You MUST have a Drug Free Workplace Policy. This written policy will cover all aspects of your program—domestically and internationally. This document will explain to all employees/applicants who will get tested, why they will get tested, what they are being tested for, how they will be tested, and when they will be tested. It will also cover the consequences if they test positive, try to cheat, or refuse to submit a specimen. The overall purpose of this policy is to remove any ambiguity of the testing program and make everything as black and white as possible.
- You MUST have a Drug Free Workplace Policy. This written policy will cover all aspects of your program—domestically and internationally. This document will explain to all employees/applicants who will get tested, why they will get tested, what they are being tested for, how they will be tested, and when they will be tested. It will also cover the consequences if they test positive, try to cheat, or refuse to submit a specimen. The overall purpose of this policy is to remove any ambiguity of the testing program and make everything as black and white as possible. This was not a typo, but intentionally listed twice to show the importance of this last item.
The overall conclusion to drug screening globally is be patient. Don’t furget there are many possible delay points from start to finish and reminding yourself and your team of this will help purrserve your sanity. Having as many of the questions above answered before contacting your drug screening supplier will be most helpful in providing you the best service possible. No kitten.
Todd Shoulberg – EVP, Medical Information Services
Todd Shoulberg provides direction and leadership to the daily operations of ClearStar’s Medical Review Office. He is responsible for keeping all drug testing clients in compliance with state, federal, and local regulations, and identifies new testing methods and products for clients to utilize in their drug testing programs.
Before joining ClearStar, Todd served as Vice President of Florida Drug Screening, Inc., where he oversaw operations of the Medical Review Office, including Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service.
At ClearStar, we are committed to your success. An important part of your employment screening program involves compliance with various laws and regulations, which is why we are providing information regarding screening requirements in certain countries, region, etc. While we are happy to provide you with this information, it is your responsibility to comply with applicable laws and to understand how such information pertains to your employment screening program. The foregoing information is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. ClearStar is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice and this communication does not form an attorney client relationship. The foregoing information is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of a lawyer knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. ClearStar makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, or utility of the information contained in this publication. Legislative, regulatory and case law developments regularly impact on general research and this area is evolving rapidly. ClearStar expressly disclaim any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of the information provided herein.