gloved hands uses drug testing strips in urine

How Drug Testing Delays Due to COVID-19 May Be Affecting Your Background Check Turnaround Time

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect how we live and conduct business, including the drug testing industry which is currently experiencing unprecedented testing delays due to a variety of factors.

The United States continues to experience a staffing shortage across most industries which has created an extreme staffing demand meaning more applicants than ever before are requiring workplace drug testing services. This staffing demand in combination with a supplies shortage and the requirement for the use of the new chain-of-custody form for DOT testing, have caused an extreme backlog at every major laboratory in the country resulting in delays for drug screening providers industry-wide.

Drug Testing Delays

Drug testing laboratories across the nation are being impacted in a myriad of ways. The national staffing shortage has impacted turnaround times at each step in the testing process, from the point the specimen is received at the lab to reporting out a final result. Current times for accessioning specimens can vary anywhere from 3-6 days.

In addition to longer turnaround times, the drug testing industry is also facing a supplies shortage including awaiting new CCF forms from the federal government that are required for DOT testing, as well as a plastics shortage caused by severe winter weather in petroleum-producing areas which has reduced the availability of testing cups. These two issues have resulted in testing delays and partial fulfillment of orders. Furthermore, the processing of affidavits required by the laboratories to correct the use of thousands of outdated chain-of-custody forms has added to the increasing specimen backlog.

Lastly, laboratories are also experiencing their own staffing challenges, such as operating with less staff due to COVID outbreaks in their offices and also a significant increase in calls and emails to check on specimen status which has increased hold times for phone calls and delayed email responses.

Drug testing providers are hopeful that delays will eventually improve as more people return to the workforce and also once the staffing and supply chain issues afflicting the industry are resolved. Until then, continue to remain patient with your background screening provider as they experience these delays deriving from the drug testing industry.

What True Hire Is Doing

True Hire is staying on top of all these concerns on a regular basis. We have dedicated personnel that are focused on Drug Testing daily and are regularly checking up on delayed results in order to provide our clients with the best experience we can offer considering the circumstances beyond our control. For instance, our drug testing experts are reaching out to our client base when facilities are closed and are working hard to locate other drug testing facilities that are open more often. Our experts are also diligently tracking down specimens that are delayed in testing and keeping clients well informed of the statuses of the various problems being encountered. The True Hire team will continue doing everything in our power to get drug testing results to our clients so that they can make the best hiring decisions for their organization.


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