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HHS Guidelines Effective Date Changed to October 1, 2010

On April 30, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Final Rule changing the effective date of the Revisions to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs (Mandatory Guidelines) from May 1, 2010, to October 1, 2010. The Mandatory Guidelines establish the scientific and technical guidelines for Federal workplace drug testing programs and establish standards for certification of laboratories engaged in drug testing for Federal agencies.

As stated in the Federal Register (75 FR 22809), without this change of effective date for the Mandatory Guidelines, laboratories certified under the Mandatory Guidelines would be required to maintain a dual system for testing using the revised Mandatory Guidelines, and testing for Department of Transportation (DOT) regulated entities covered by the current Mandatory Guidelines, until DOT rules are issued. Further, the National Laboratory Certification Program would be required to certify laboratories utilizing different sets of requirements. The new effective date of October 1, 2010 will allow time for related training in Federal and federally-regulated workplace drug testing programs and will be consistent with the beginning of the new Fiscal Year for Federal agencies.

The purpose of the HHS Final Rule is to notify participants in Federal and federally-regulated workplace drug testing programs as soon as possible that they will not be expected to implement the revisions to the Mandatory Guidelines on May 1, 2010, so that they do not unnecessarily expend resources to comply on May 1, or risk compliance problems by prematurely implementing new provisions. On February 4, 2010 the Department of Transportation issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to align its regulated-industry drug testing with the HHS laboratory drug testing requirements. The 60-day public comment period for the NPRM officially ended on April 5, 2010. The HHS decision to change the effective date of the Mandatory Guidelines should enable DOT to issue its rulemaking in time to meet the October 1, 2010 date.



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