Avera Queen of Peace Hospital's Occupational Medicine Department is trying to help employers keep a safe work environment by making sure their employees are clean. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on their state-of-the art screening facilities in Mitchell.
The brand new Avera Urgent Care Clinic in Mitchell not only accommodates patients during nights and weekends, it also houses their Occupational Medicine Department. In the past few years their substance abuse program has had in increase in participation. Employers want to make sure their employees aren't abusing alcohol and drugs, illegal or prescription, while on the job or before they clock in.
Dr. Darla Edinger is the medical review officer for the urine/drug screen program. She says, "It is so important. There are so many individuals who are using medications that can put them at risk or other individual at risk that are your co-workers. If you are at work taking a medication that makes you act like you are legally drunk then you have the potential to cause injury to yourself or someone else and we want to have people safe and work and reduce work related injuries."
Hundreds of businesses through out the Midwest contract with Occupational Medicine in Mitchell to do drug screenings.
Rhonda says, "We set them up with a pre-employment, random screening, post-accident and we also do a lot of training with supervisors to know what signs and symptoms to look for on reasonable suspicion."
Both Rhonda Baker and Sherry Thomas are integral parts of Avera Queen of Peace's Oc Med. Sherry is demonstrating what the employee would be put through during the screening process. They have gone to great lengths to ensure no one is cheating the system by following the designated collection protocol.
Dr. Edinger says, "The goal is to have a collection site where the individual comes in and they don't have an opportunity to substitute urine. There are many individuals that attempt to place urine in bottles, in condoms, in all types of devices in order to get around the system because it's easier for them to substitute a urine sample than to actually be drug free."
Dr. Edinger says, "We put a bluing tablet in the toilet so the bluing will show up in the bottle if they try to dilute their sample plus the flushing mechanism is outside the room so they can't get any non-blue water."
Dr. Edinger says since the number of people testing positive for drugs and alcohol has significantly increased in the past few years, she hopes more and more employers will seek out their services to increase safety among their workforce.