At the end of 2020, the National Drug & Alcohol Screening Association introduced the NDASA Accreditation program for Collection Sites, Consortiums and Third-Party Administrators, Designated Employer Representatives and (coming soon) Substance Abuse Professionals.
With the rollout, came some important questions from our members:
Is accreditation necessary?
The short answer is: No.
Accreditation is not required to provide workplace drug and alcohol testing services to federally regulated businesses. As long as you have completed the mandated training and can provide proof that you are qualified, you can do your job. NDASA Accreditation involves an investment of time and money. Providers should look at their business and their goals and consider whether this type of investment is worth it to them.
How are accreditation and certification different?
Certification confirms that a provider has completed all necessary training that qualifies them to do their job. For any testing services under U.S. Department of Transportation, 49 CFR Part 40, providers must be certified in their field.
Accreditation is something else. A reputable and meaningful accreditation program should confirm that you and your business can be trusted to meet the highest standards in the industry.
Is accreditation important?
The short answer is: Yes. It can be extremely important to the growth and sustainability of your business.
Why? When NDASA was launched, the association had no intention of developing an accreditation program. After all, it is not required under DOT 49 CFR Part 40 and does not have a role in a provider’s ability to do their job. Furthermore, over the years, our founding members – all veterans in the industry – had seen programs that provided a certificate of accreditation to any business willing to pay a fee, show proof of insurance and answer cursory questions about training and qualifications. These programs required no evidence of a commitment to standards and best practices. Therefore, the certificates couldn’t be considered proof of excellence, making them essentially meaningless.
We soon learned, however, that because accreditation certificates had existed in the industry for some time, NDASA members bidding on contracts with larger organizations, cities, counties, states and federal agencies, were asked in the Request for Proposal (RFP) to include a current certificate of accreditation. Not having the piece of paper was putting them at a disadvantage when pursuing some large and profitable contracts.
NDASA realised that a certificate of accreditation is an essential business tool for providers who are growing their companies with plans to bid on certain types of contracts. But, ethically, the association couldn’t support simply making a piece of paper without meaning available to its members.
How is NDASA Accreditation different?
More than being a helpful business tool, NDASA determined that an accreditation program must contribute to excellence in the drug and alcohol testing industry.
To achieve this NDASA formed a committee of experts, many of whom helped develop the current regulations and processes governing the industry. The committee’s mission was to define standards of excellence for NDASA Accreditation. Collaborating with industry partners, committee members formulated sets of qualifications and expectations that collection sites, TPAs, DERs and SAPs must achieve to earn accreditation. As part of the process, applicants complete a lengthy questionnaire and provide accompanying documentation to confirm they meet these high standards.
Since the NDASA Accreditation Program was launched at the end of 2020, nine providers and companies have completed the process and obtained NDASA Accreditation, three more are working toward accreditation.
Florida-based Accredited Drug Testing and Health Screenings USA, Inc., owned by NDASA Board President Jim Greer, was one of the first businesses to earn NDASA C/TPA Accreditation.
A long-time leader in the industry, Accredited Drug Testing views NDASA Accreditation as further confirmation of the company’s reputable standing among industry experts and peers, according to Accredited Drug Testing Vice President John Burgos.
“Any business that wishes to succeed, must have creditability and the NDASA Accreditation program provides that credibility by adhering to the association’s training standards and commitment to ethical business practice,” Burgos said, adding that being able to promote NDASA Accreditation to prospective clients (through the Accredit Drug Testing website and marketing materials), gives the company a significant advantage over competitors.