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ASK ALICE


In each issue we will be answering questions submitted by members. If you have a question to be answered, please submit it to info@datia. org with Ask Alice in the subject line. Enjoy.


QUESTION: How does the Depart- ment’s Public Interest Exclusion (PIE) process work when a service agent has been convicted of an offense related to non-com- pliance with Part 40 or DOT Agency drug and alcohol testing rules?


ANSWER: • When there is a judgment or any other determination of guilt of a criminal of- fense by any court of competent jurisdic- tion against the service agent, whether entered upon a verdict or plea, including a plea of nolo contendere; or any other resolution that is the functional equivalent of a judgment, including probation before judgment and deferred prosecution, the PIE process works as explained below: • A DOT official can initiate a PIE against the service agent based solely on the conviction


• Te conviction means that the stan- dard of proof for issuing the PIE has been met.


• Terefore, when the DOT initiating official issues the service agent a Notice of Proposed Exclusion recommending a PIE, the service agent Will not be able to contest the facts of the non-compli- ance or the issuance of the PIE


• Te service agent would be afforded only an opportunity to contest the proposed length of time the PIE would be in place.


QUESTION: During periods of hot weather, how may Medical Review Officers (MROs) handle laboratory results reported as invalid because of pH greater than or equal to 9.0 but less than or equal to 9.5?


ANSWER: • Part 40 requires an MRO to provide an employee the opportunity to present a medical explanation for an invalid test result, to include any related to pH. • If the employee provides an accept- able medical explanation, the MRO is authorized to cancel the test and take no further action.


50 datia focus


• If there is no acceptable medical explanation, the MRO will cancel the test and will notify the employer or Designated Employer Representative (DER) to direct another collection under direct observation.


• Te Department is aware of current re- search and studies offering evidence that, over time, heat may cause the pH to rise, typically into the range of 9.0 through 9.3, but not higher than 9.5. [See, for example, “Urine pH: the Effects of Time and Temperature aſter Collection,” Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 31, October 2007.]


• Consequently, when an employee has no other medical explanation for the pH in the 9.0 - 9.5 range, MROs should consider whether there is evidence of elapsed time and increased temperature that could account for the pH value.


• In doing so, MROs are authorized to consider the following: • Te temperature conditions that were likely to have existed between the time of collection and transportation of the specimen to the laboratory; and


• Te length of time between the specimen collection and arrival at the laboratory.


• MROs may talk with the collection sites to discuss time and temperature issues, including any pertinent information regarding specimen storage.


• If the MRO determines that time and temperature account for the pH value, the MRO is authorized to cancel the test and take no further action.


• If the MRO determines that time and temperature fail to account for the pH value, the MRO is authorized cancel the test and direct another collection under direct observation.


QUESTION: Are there any circumstances for which an employee should be given more than 3 hours and 40 ounces of fluids to provide a sufficient amount of urine dur- ing a collection?


summer 2013


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