The DOT announced new collection rules were to become effective August 26th and then, in a surprising move, delayed the implementation of a large portion of the new rules until November 1st. The new rules relate to observed collections on return to work and follow up tests.
In that past, observed collections were only required in a handful of circumstances and realistically, are relatively rare. Under the new rules, they will be much more common – presenting new challenges for medical facilities, patient service centers and collection sites. Collection sites were very much the focal point of the May 2008 GAO report where drivers reported that cheating on collections was more common than previously thought.
The implementation delay does add a level of confusion to an already burdened nationwide collection system. Since the postponementwas to extend the comment period, it is likely there will be additional delay beyond the new November date if comments were to raise issues that must be addressed prior to roll out.
Some critics call the new rules draconian – requiring those drivers who are having return to duty or follow up screens to raise shirts above waists and lower underwear. We’ve seen many kinds of home-made or internet purchased devices; designed to sneak a urine specimen into the bathroom. But not terribly often and usually among non-DOT regulated donors.
So, here we sit, having prepared collection sites nationally for new procedures, and then advising them that most are on hold. Stay tuned….
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