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Arizona; Drug screening restrictions

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  • Arizona; Drug screening restrictions

    A few years ago, I learned that our company could get a discount on its workers compensation insurance premiums by implementing a drug screening program wherein employees are tested for drugs in association with an industrial injury. On further investigation, I learned that (at least at that time) we could only require drug screening for an injury if we already had a drug screening program for all employees, which we do not. It would not be cost effective to do so because 95% of our employees are seasonal and only work for our event 19 days a year. With this understanding, I have consistently declined when an urgent care facility asks if we want an injured employee drug or alcohol screened.

    Yesterday I sent an employee to an urgent care we don't normally use because our regular facility was closed. The facility that treated him required him to provide a specimen for drug screening without consulting us. My questions are:

    1) Are regulations the same as I understood them to be, that we cannot require drug screening for an industrial injury unless we have a full program in place?
    2) Can an urgent care legally make that call on their own?
    3) The employee says he has medical cannabis on a prescription from California. If he tested positive, will his claim be automatically refused
    by State Compensation Fund?
    4) If so, does it impact how we proceed? May I assume we just continue to follow whatever medical restrictions were indicated by the doctor with the only difference being that the employee is responsible for the medical bills?

  • #2
    1) Are regulations the same as I understood them to be, that we cannot require drug screening for an industrial injury unless we have a full program in place?

    You can drug test anytime you wish, Arizona allows random testing.

    2) Can an urgent care legally make that call on their own?

    Yes.

    3) The employee says he has medical cannabis on a prescription from California. If he tested positive, will his claim be automatically refused
    by State Compensation Fund?

    No.

    4) If so, does it impact how we proceed? May I assume we just continue to follow whatever medical restrictions were indicated by the doctor with the only difference being that the employee is responsible for the medical bills?

    N/A
    Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

    I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CatHerder View Post
      A few years ago, I learned that our company could get a discount on its workers compensation insurance premiums by implementing a drug screening program wherein employees are tested for drugs in association with an industrial injury. On further investigation, I learned that (at least at that time) we could only require drug screening for an injury if we already had a drug screening program for all employees, which we do not. It would not be cost effective to do so because 95% of our employees are seasonal and only work for our event 19 days a year. With this understanding, I have consistently declined when an urgent care facility asks if we want an injured employee drug or alcohol screened.

      Yesterday I sent an employee to an urgent care we don't normally use because our regular facility was closed. The facility that treated him required him to provide a specimen for drug screening without consulting us. My questions are:

      1) Are regulations the same as I understood them to be, that we cannot require drug screening for an industrial injury unless we have a full program in place?
      2) Can an urgent care legally make that call on their own?
      3) The employee says he has medical cannabis on a prescription from California. If he tested positive, will his claim be automatically refused
      by State Compensation Fund?
      4) If so, does it impact how we proceed? May I assume we just continue to follow whatever medical restrictions were indicated by the doctor with the only difference being that the employee is responsible for the medical bills?
      I was an Occupational Health nurse who was in charge of the drug screening program for a very large corporation. I believe you must have a full program in place. There must be policies and procedures regarding random drug screening in place in order for your company to require this service for injuries.

      I believe the lab performed the drug screening in error, probably because most employers do request their injured workers undergo drug screening. Many employers do have drug testing policies in place.

      The most important thing to remember is if they used a disposable lab kit and the result was positive the specimen would have to be sent to a qualified lab for verification. The lab kit alone is not acceptable as proof of a positive result. The employee would have to show identification to the clinic personnel and sign a form for the specimen to be sent to the lab via overnight courier. This process is called the "chain of custody". The specimen result would have to be reviewed by their MRO. If you don't have a program in place there would be nowhere to go with this information. Each company with a drug testing program in place has a relationship with a specific lab.

      If this process did not occur then there's not really anything you can do with the information anyway.

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