If you’ve been successfully running and operating a drug-testing business for a while, congratulations! Now that you know the ropes and are making money, you might want to start thinking about growing your business. If you are a collector, work with a lab, and have customers, the next logical step to expand would be to take on the role of third party administrator (TPA).
Some of your business clients might have a person on staff who coordinates the drug-testing program administered to employees. But not all businesses have someone like this, and that’s where the TPA comes in—and that TPA could be you. You would coordinate for businesses an entire drug-testing program: specimen collection, breath alcohol testing, laboratory testing, and reviewing the medical review officer (MRO). So instead of only testing, you would handle all aspects of the process.
WHAT DO I NEED TO LEARN?
Just as you had much to learn to become a specimen collector, you have even more to learn to become a TPA. You must learn all the regulations and guidelines both for the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulated and non-DOT regulated employers. It’s very important that, as a drug-testing coordinator for companies, you know and are in compliance with all the federal and state laws that apply. You must also be prepared to set up the five major components of a drug-free workplace:
- Substance abuse policy
- Supervisor training
- Employee education
- Employee assistance programs
- Drug testing
The good news is that you can easily learn how to set up the five components and learn all the guidelines and laws. You can do this with the help of a consultant and by attending training sessions, workshops, and industry conferences.
ARE THERE SPECIALIZED COURSES AVAILABLE?
We at Joe Reilly & Associates also recommend that you sign up for a training course on how to manage and administer drug and alcohol testing programs if you want to expand your business to a TPA. The Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) offers an Advanced Drug Testing Management course. The DOT refers to this type of business as a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA). This course is offered online and will teach you the common operating standards and methods for managing a C/TPA. Although each TPA business can operate in its own way, there are certain elements that every TPA should include, and that’s what you’ll learn by taking this course.
Specific Services to Provide
A TPA can provide a wide variety of services for clients. Here’s an idea of some important services you will likely be expected to provide as a TPA:
- Review or set up a drug-free workplace that uses the five major components
- Train supervisors and conduct employee education programs
- Provide custody and control forms for your clients
- Coordinate all drug testing
- Conduct drug testing
- Set up laboratory and MRO accounts for your clients
- Review the results of the MRO
- Manage the company’s drug-testing program
- Maintain drug-testing records
- Troubleshoot problems, such as missing or abnormal results
- Answer questions from clients (an attorney or consultant on retainer might be needed)
- Develop policies and procedures for how you will conduct business
- Hire and train employees
You can choose which services you wish to provide. If you don’t offer all the services at once, you can always add some later on. Make sure you have the proper license and insurance to run the type of TPA you have in mind.
Once you’ve established a successful TPA business, you can keep growing your business if that is your goal. Besides setting up and administering company drug-testing programs, you can offer your service to other types of groups. You might become a drug-testing company for athletes or students, offer DNA paternity testing, or test welfare recipients if your state requires that testing be done. You can always be on the lookout for new services to offer along with new potential clients to gain.
Schedule TPA Training with Joe Reilly
Joe Reilly & Associates can give you the specialized training you’ll need to get started in and to grow your drug-testing business. Joe Reilly has been in the business since 1993. He has served for nine years on the Board of Directors of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) and as Chairman of the Board for four of those years. Joe is a recognized national expert in the drug-testing field who has assisted hundreds of employers and drug-testing companies by providing expert training and consulting.