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"Urine Drug Screams, Part 1" by Troy H. Cheek on Apr 19, 2004
At one of my previous jobs in the healthcare security arena, my boss once called me into his office. "Troy, step into my office."
I did so, closing the door behind me. If I don't, he waits until I sit down, then asks me to please close it. "What's up, Boss?"
"I need you to do a urine drug screen," he stated.
"Sorry, boss. I just went. But let me finish my coffee and give me half an hour..."
"No, it's nothing like that," the boss interupted. "I need the whole department to do a urine drug screen."
"Okay, give me an hour or two to call all the guys in and..."
"No, it's nothing like that," the boss interupted. "Why do you always make things so difficult?" I think that part was supposed to be to himself. I suspect that he never realized how loud his mutterings were. "I need the department to start performing urine drug screens on other people."
"Boss, that sounds like something medical, and you know that Security is not allowed to participate in any medical procedures..."
"No, it's nothing like that," the boss interupted. "You're not doing any of the actual drug screen. You're just collecting the samples and shipping them off to the lab. All you need is the right training."
I started to open my mouth, but he answered my objection before I could raise it. "We'll schedule the training."
We soon got the training. The instructor also explained exactly why security officers were suddenly acting as lab techs. It apparently all started several months ago when, as a money-saving measure, some beanhead in Accounting suggested cutting out the Occupational Services department. They were providing services at a loss, it was decided. It would be better if we stopped providing such services and let other area facilities take over the business.
One of the services involved was providing low-cost urine drug screens to employees of area companies when they were injured at work. There were a lot of area companies, every company had a different battery of tests they wanted run, and every company had different labs that they wanted the samples sent to, so it was a full-time job just to keep track of it all. Several full-time jobs, actually.
Companies like these tests because they allow them to show the federal government that they are abiding by all laws and regulations copncerning drug use at the workplace. They also allow them to claim that the employee was injured falling down a hole not because the company didn't put up a barrier or because another employee pushed him, but because the employee was so hopped up on Goofenthol that he couldn't see where he was walking. Companies, insurance carriers, and various disability services love to be able to tell you that, even though you'll never be able to work again, you aren't getting any money from them because it was your own damned fault.
As opposed to how it was in my grandfathers time, when they simply told you that if you couldn't do your job anymore, they weren't going to pay you anymore.
Shortly after our facility laid off the entire Occupational Services department to save money, the beanheads discovered that we were losing money. It seems that a low-cost urine drug screen and an existing relationship with the company meant that any time an employee was injured he was brought to our hospital. As long as he was at the hospital anyway, he might was well get his injuries treated in our state of the art Emergency Center.
40+ people with degrees in accounting and/or business management suddenly grasped the concept of loss leader. That is, advertise some cheap soft drinks to get people in the store, and they'll be so happy with the cheap drinks that they'll fail to notice how badly you're ripping them off on the chips and dip.
Luckily, the hospital had recently constructed a Walk-in Clinic across the road from the emergency center. The Clinic allowed us to treat non-emergency patients at 1/10th the cost. It just so happened that we had just hired some of the staff from the recently defunct Occupational Services department to round out the staff at the Clinic.
The beanheads had the brilliant idea that we could provide all the services formerly provided by Occupational Services at the Walk-in Clinic, since there were people there who already knew how to collect urine drug screen samples, fill out the paperwork, etc. All the old contracts were dusted off, the companies were contacted, and former services resumed.
Everything was great.
Until the beanheads decided that the Walk-in Clinic was taking business away from the Emergency Center. And at 1/10th the price, it was also taking 90% of the profit away from the Emergency Center.
We couldn't have that, could we? The decision came down to cut costs and boost profits by closing down our Walk-in Clinic and directing all former and future patients, including the Occupational Services patients, to the Emergency Center. And just so that we've have people who knew how to collect urine drug screen samples, fill out the paperwork, and whatnot, we'll hire some of the people from the Walk-in Clinic to work in the Emergency Center.
Of course, such hiring had to be done on the basis of senority. Since all the former Occupational Services staff had been hired most recently, they were no jobs left for them in the Emergency Center after all the senior staff from the Walk-in Clinic scarfed up the empty job slots.
No problem. This is a state of the art Emergency Center. We're staffed with highly-trained professionals. Surely we can handle a simple thing like a urine drug screen. We do urine analysis all the time for medical reasons. What could possibly go wrong?
I'll tell you tomorrow.
Copyright 2004 by Troy H. Cheek. Reprint with prior written permission only. Comments and questions to $mail:theview$
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|This page last updated on Apr 18, 2004 by Troy H. Cheek|