The Nation is currently experiencing a staffing shortage that is impacting most industries including all aspects of federal and workplace drug testing. The staffing demand, in combination with a supplies shortage and the requirement for the use of the new chain-of-custody form for DOT testing, have caused an extreme backlog at every major laboratory as well as delays at i3screen.
The national staffing shortage has impacted turnaround times at each step in the testing process, from the point the specimen is received at the lab to reporting out a final result. Current times for accessioning specimens can vary anywhere from 3-6 days. Laboratories are making adjustments every day to manage the ever-changing environment such as shifting employees to different departments as needed, adding second shifts, adding equipment, and over-hiring to accommodate staffing challenges. it is important to keep in mind that these issues are impacting all laboratories industry-wide.
Effective August 30, 2021 the new federal CCF became required for DOT testing, resulting in large numbers of orders for new forms. Severe 2021 winter weather in petroleum-producing areas has also caused plastic shortages. These issues have reduced the availability of cups and forms, in addition to creating delays and partial fulfillment of orders.
Use of Outdated CCFs
The processing of affidavits required by the laboratories to correct the use of thousands of outdated chain-of-custody forms adds to the increasing specimen backlog, compounding already delayed testing turnaround times.
The challenges of hiring and retaining employees have also affected i3screen. To further complicate matters, we have been impacted by recent COVID outbreaks in both of our offices. We are diligently hiring staff and have added weekend shifts to increase our ability to close cases and accommodate the changing laboratory release schedules.
The laboratory delays have affected our team the most due to the unprecedented increase in calls and emails to check on specimen status. In order to help us provide the best service during this time, we ask that you check the i3screen system for the most up-to-date status of your results and email the medical review team regarding specimen inquiries when possible. This will allow our phone lines to stay open, significantly reducing hold times for donor interviews and other urgent matters, so that when we get results from the laboratories we are able to review and close them out as quickly as possible.
With this communication it is our hope to set realistic expectations regarding current turnaround times. We are hopeful that as more people return to the workforce, the staffing and supply chain issues plaguing our industry will be alleviated. Additionally, as the new Federal CCF circulates, the issues with the old forms should also cause less of an impact. Our laboratory partners believe they are on solid footing in implementing long-term solutions to address turnaround time delays. With all of this in mind, we ask for your patience in weathering this “perfect storm” together.
Thank you for your business and continued confidence in i3Screen.
i3Screen Operations & Product Support
As always, you can contact us at Confirm Choice with any questions or concerns at support@ConfirmChoice.com or by calling our office at 615-383-5932.