Occupational Medicine Category

It’s not an oversimplification to say that the difficult thing about providing care for truckers is that they’re not in the same place for long. What’s worse, there are certain occupational hazards that make access to care especially important. According to UrgentCareTravel (UCT), 80% of the 3.8 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. are obese; half live with untreated sleep apnea; and 65% don’t have a primary care physician. So, UCT is partnering with the Pilot Flying J Travel Centers to provide occupational medicine and urgent care services whileRead More
The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) is getting with the times and adding opioid screens to its drug testing program. Specifically, providers who conduct physicals and assessments for the DOT will have to include hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone in their screens as of January 1, 2018.  In addition, methylenedioxyamphetamine has been added as an initial test analyte, and methylenedioxyethylamphetamine has been removed as a confirmatory test analyte. Adding the four semisynthetic opioids has been mandated by Federal statute, and applies not only to specimen testing validity values but alsoRead More
OSHA says employers have to evaluate for bloodborne pathogens immediately following possible exposure via needle-stick or specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, nonintact skin, or parenteral contact with blood. “Immediate” can be tricky on the jobsite or for first responders and clinical personnel, however, so U.S. HealthWorks is trying to facilitate faster access through a new telemedicine program. The company has an app that facilitates access at any time, any day and includes comprehensive medical history and immunization status, counseling, and follow-up care recommendations, including labs and prescriptions electronically transmittedRead More
Michigan companies can’t fill jobs because too many people can’t pass a drug test, screams a headline reposted to Crain’s Detroit Business from Bridge Magazine. It’s not just idle chatter, either; the article under that headline quotes data from Quest Diagnostics’ Drug Testing Index, as well as workplace experts and state officials in Michigan. The problem may be especially acute in Traverse City, MI, but for reasons that would be applicable to any number of other parts of the country. Chris Hindbaugh, executive director of Traverse City Addiction Treatment Services,Read More
The unabated epidemic of opioid and synthetic opioid addiction has moved President Trump to declare it a national public health emergency. It’s also moving occupational health providers, including some urgent care operators, to look at updating the drug screens they give as part of their pre-employment examinations. Tennessee Occupational Health, for one, reports that as much as 80% of positive drug tests they see show evidence of opiates. As recently as 5 years, ago, marijuana was the number-one source of positive screens. However, prescription pain medications are not included inRead More
Availability of telemedicine offered by larger employers in the U.S. is close to reaching a saturation point, as 96% of large employers are expected to offer it in their array of health benefits in states where it’s allowed next year. In stark contrast is the fact that only 8% of workers at one out of five of those companies’ workers are taking advantage of it, according to the Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey—meaning there is plenty of room for growth, and for cementing relationships withRead More
These are complicated times for urgent care operators who offer occupational medicine services like employee drug screens. The opioid crisis across the country muddies the waters even more, as state laws and medical practice guidelines seek to inhibit the use of opioid pain medications in order to stem increases in addiction and related deaths. Many employers are following suit, but be mindful that even well-intentioned drug testing programs can have severe consequences—for the company. Most recently, a federal district court in Washington ordered a company to pay over $1.8 millionRead More
More American workers are failing tests for illegal drugs these days than in many years. Quest Diagnostics reports that 4.2% of the 8.9 million employee drug tests it administered last year came back positive; that’s the highest rate since 2004. Marijuana remains the most prevalent, though other drugs are also on the rise. This is especially surprising, given the fact that so many states have looser laws on marijuana use for medical or recreational purposes. The data also indicate a resurgence of cocaine and methamphetamine, specifically. Barry Sample, PhD, Quest’sRead More
Members of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) who work 8 to 20 hours a week in San Francisco eateries now have a place to go for walk-in care without paying anything out of pocket. Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care reached an agreement with the GGRA to provide at least four visits per year to its centers (more for GGRA members who work more hours, according to a formula worked out under the city’s Health Care Security Ordinance), paid for by the GGRA. Employees and their dependent children will be ableRead More
It can be easy to become complacent about doing driver physicals required by the Department of Transportation. “Rubber stamping” them can have dire consequences for the patient, the employer, and the general public, and even raise your legal risk, however. Occ med and urgent care giant Concentra has been hit with a class action lawsuit in connection with a multiple-fatality bus crash in Maryland last November. The complaint claims that Concentra knew or should have known when they medically cleared a city bus driver (who died in the crash) thatRead More