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Workers' Comp. Drug Testing

In Colorado, when you test your employee after injury, they have a right to a split specimen. Make sure whoever does your testing knows this and practices this; see below for the law:

§8-42-112.5.  Limitation on payments - use of controlled substances.
 (1)  Nonmedical benefits otherwise payable to an injured worker shall be reduced fifty percent where injury results from the presence in the worker's system, during working hours, of not medically prescribed controlled substances, as defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S., or of a blood alcohol level at or above 0.10 percent, or at or above an applicable lower level as set forth by federal statute or regulation, as evidenced by a forensic drug or alcohol test conducted by a medical facility or laboratory licensed or certified to conduct such tests.  A duplicate sample from any test conducted shall be preserved and made available to the worker for purposes of a second test to be conducted at the worker's expense.  If the test indicates the presence of such substances or of alcohol at such level, it shall be presumed that the employee was intoxicated and that the injury was due to such intoxication.  This presumption may be overcome by clear and convincing evidence.
 (2)  As used in this section, "nonmedical benefits" means all benefits provided for in articles 40 to 47 of this title other than disbursements for medical, surgical, nursing, and hospital services, apparatus, and supplies.

Additionally, we provide some information for you to review

A great deal of confusion exists in the workers’ compensation testing arena.  This information is designed to help clarify some of the most common problems we see.
Please note: None of the hospitals in the Denver Metro conduct forensic drug testing. Most of the hospitals have contracted this service out (to us, a clinic, or another mobile unit).
We provide services for all the hospitals in the Denver Metro Area including: 

  • HealthOne Aurora South
  • HealthOne Centennial
  • HealthOne North Suburban
  • HealthOne Presbyterian St. Luke’s
  • HealthOne Rose Medical
  • HealthOne Sky Ridge
  • HealthOne Swedish
  • HealthOne Swedish Southwest
  • St. Anthony’s Central
  • St. Anthony’s North
  • Denver Health
  • University of Colorado
  • Adventist Hospitals (all)
  • St. Joseph’s
  • Lutheran
  • Good Samaritan
Please be advised that the hospitals may call another service or may not even contact anyone for your drug testing needs. If you call us when the employee is en-route, we can usually have the testing done before the employee has completed treatment.

We are a provider for Exempla Hospitals.  However, you must call us and then the Exempla facility to notify  them that you have called us and that we are enroute to the hospital.

Please remember we are dealing with forensic testing, not medical testing.
The difference between forensic and medical testing:
  • Forensic testing is toxicological testing to determine the presence of certain substances above prescribed levels.  It is controlled and regulated, requiring very specific procedures to ensure security, integrity, and maintain chain of custody of the specimen through every phase (from collection of the specimen through the laboratory processes and reporting.
  • Medical testing is done to make a medical diagnosis.  It is protected under H.I.P.P.A., where as forensic testing is not protected under H.I.P.P.A.
In 1999, the Colorado State Legislature made some changes to the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act. Among those changes were some revisions to §8-42-112. With the revisions, the statute provided for the reduction of certain non-medical benefits if the injured employee tested positive for alcohol or prohibited drugs at the time of the accident.  Shortly thereafter, many compensation carriers, as part of their cost containment and accident investigation programs, required their insured to implement post-accident substance abuse testing. As an incentive to the insured, some compensation carriers offered premium reductions in the form of schedule credits to those companies who implemented these and other cost control measures.
Generally speaking, most compensation carriers do not pay for workers’ compensation testing.  Their position is twofold:

  1. They may have discounted the coverage to begin with because the insured has a post-accident substance abuse testing policy.
  2. The employer will see a direct savings in experience modification due to the reduction in TTD payments if the 50% reduction in non-medical benefits is taken should and injured employee test positive.
It is worth noting that while some compensation carriers have agreed to “manage post-accident testing costs” for their insured’s, they will bill these charges back to the insured.
Within the statute, there are some specific requirements the employer must ensure:
  • The “test” as evidenced by a forensic drug or alcohol test, must be conducted by a medical facility or laboratory that is licensed or certified to conduct such tests.
  • A duplicate sample from any conducted test (split) shall be preserved and made available to the worker should (s)he choose to have an independent test conducted at his/her expense.
  • The specimen must be submitted to a qualified toxicological laboratory.
  •  The lab results are to be reviewed by a qualified Medical Review Officer (MRO).
You should also note that there is not a D.H.H.S./S.A.M.H.S.A. certified toxicology lab in the state of Colorado.  All the specimens we collect are sent out of state to certified labs.
Compliance & Safety Management offers a variety of training programs on workplace drug testing for managers, supervisors, and Designated Employee Representatives (D.E.R.s).  We also offer training and certification programs for D.O.T. required Supervisor Training. Please see the training page of our website for more information.

Workers' Comp. Drug Testing - Compliance & Safety Management

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