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May 19 2014

Health Care Worker Drug Testing Bill Advances in New Hampshire

"The first law in the nation to require the widespread drug testing of health care employees may be on its way to passage, as the New Hampshire House of Representatives has passed by a vote of 289-48, without debate, ""an Act relative to the drug-free workplaces for licensed health care facilities and providers."" It seeks to foster the safety and protection of patients and health care workers ""by promoting and maintaining a substance-free work environment and discouraging the illegal use and diversion of controlled substances by health care workers."" The measure (H.B. 597-FN) would mandate that licensed entities establish ""procedures for drug testing which shall include, at a minimum, testing where reasonable suspicion exists,"" as part of a broader ""drug misuse and diversion prevention policy"" providing for the ""prevention, detection, and resolution of controlled substance abuse, misuse and diversion."" The facility would have to designate an employee or interdisciplinary team of employees to be responsible for the policy. The bill is intended to offer flexibility to health care facilities and providers ""to develop and adopt a workplace standard appropriate to its size, the nature of the services provided, and its particular setting."" "