Cross Section Of County Employees Now Subject To Workplace Drug Testing

The county of San Bernardino has quietly initiated drug testing of its employees. For various reasons, the program has gotten little publicity. It loomed into the public spotlight this week, when the board of supervisors approved a three year contract with one of the two companies that perform drug and alcohol testing.
According to Laurie Rozko, the director of the county’s purchasing department, “The human resources department requires specialized services and handling processes beyond the requirements of other departments, including pre-employment physical examinations, random testing for certain employees with safety-sensitive job tasks, post-accident clearance for personnel, and reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing as needed. Testing regulated by the Department of Transportation also requires independent medical review officer confirmation of certain testing results. Without local services, human resources may experience delays in turnaround time for test results, which could also be non-compliant with Department of Transportation requirements.”
Rozko asked the board of supervisors to “approve [an] agreement with Addiction Medicine Consultants, Inc. for services at fixed rates for the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018, with one option to extend for an additional two-year term. The fixed rates include $37.35 for a 10-panel drug test for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), opiates, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone and propoxyphene; all to be collected at a lab-provided facility, with the cost to include the drawing/collection of the specimen and testing of the specimen; and $39 for a 5-panel urine drug and alcohol tests, per Department of Transportation standards; collected at a lab-provided facility, with the cost to include the drawing/collection of the specimen and testing of the specimen.”
While it appears that Addiction Medical Consultants’ profit on negative tests will be marginal or non-existent, it stands to make money on positive tests.
The laboratory director, supervising technical representative and technical representative with the company are to be remunerated at a rate of $100 per hour for their court testimony in addition to a $250 per diem for that testimony.
According to Rozko, “In April 2014, a request for proposal for drug and alcohol testing services was released on behalf of multiple county departments. On September 23, 2014 the board of supervisors approved Agreement No. 14-820 with PhamaTech, Inc. Since that time, Purchase Order No. 151285 has remained in place with Addiction Medicine Consultants to meet the specialized needs of human resources. In addition, Addiction Medicine Consultants was coordinating county testing sites under contract with PhamaTech, Inc. Addiction Medicine Consultants was the second highest ranked proposer in the competitive process, and works closely with a local medical review officer.”
Rozko told the board of supervisors that approving the agreement with Addiction Medicine consultants “will give the department the ability to have specialized Department of Transportation related testing services, as well as a secondary vendor for countywide services if needed.”
The county has not publicized its drug testing policy. Neither have the unions representing various county employee groups seen fit to vector attention to the testing the county is conducting, their acquiescence in allowing the testing to take place, the frequency with which the testing turns up positive results or the punishment or discipline meted out in such circumstances.

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