What is Split Specimen Urine Drug Testing?
This is a form of testing required by all Department Of Transportation testing sites. The Department of Transportation (or DOT) regulations for drug testing are also often used by employers to determine if their employees are drug free when conducting their work. This is because these regulations are fair both to the employer and the employee facing testing.
Split specimen urine drug testing is only slightly different from regular testing. In this process, the urine sample is split into two vials and sent to the SAMHSA certified lab for urine testing. One of these vials is tested now and the other is stored. If the first vial is tested as positive for any reason the person who submitted the sample can request that the other vial be tested. If this happens the 2nd vial is sent to a Medical Review Officer.
This MRO talks to the donor and asks them if there are any prescriptions they are taking that may have been omitted before when the sample was taken. If there isn’t any legal prescriptions that would affect the results, the 2nd vial can then be tested. The MRO will tell the donor about the option to have the 2nd vial tested at another lab. This requires the Department of Transportation to verify that no lab errors could have played a part in the positive test results.
Regulations don’t make it clear who has to pay for the 2nd test but it does state that the donor can ask for the test even if they don’t have the money to pay for it, meaning that the cost can fall back on the employer if the donor asks for that urine test. The result from this 2nd test is used as the final result in that case.
Requesting a 2nd Test
When an employee has a positive result on a urine test, they are notified about the option to use the 2nd vial for another urine test. If the employee asks for that vial to be tested it will then be tested at another certified lab. Below are some points to remember about the 2nd urine test request.
• When the MRO informs you about the split specimen drug testing , you will have 72 hours from the point of notification to request (verbally or in writing) that 2nd test.
• If you do not get that request to the MRO within the 72 hour span, you can still submit information to the affect that the request was delayed by injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances such as the lack of an MRO officer in the office that prevented the request from being made in time.
• The MRO can make the request for a 2nd test if the information submitted after the 72 hour period proves that the request would otherwise have been submitted in time.
• When the request is sent for the 2nd test the original urine testing site must be reached and told to send the 2nd vial on to another site for urine testing. The time and date of the employees request must also be noted at this point.