Third Party Administrator

A business owner running his operation, or a security and risk management director or the head of the human resources has enough responsibility for the company’s day-to-day related operations. Implementing and efficiently maintaining the workplace’s drug and alcohol employee testing program is a tasking responsibility. Getting the services of a Third-Party Administrator to manage all the elements of a company’s drug free workplace program will ensure the efficient compliance to federal and state regulations, and at the same time lessen the employer’s liability.

What is a Third Party Administrator?

Third-Party Administrator is a service agent or a group that manages all, or part, of an employer’s DOT-complied drug and alcohol testing program. Also called Consortium/Third Party Administrator (C/TPA), also takes cares of maintaining the essential testing records. As a service agent, C/TPA helps in carrying out the DOT/FMCSA drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations. C/TPA, as the entity in charge of coordination the workplace’s testing services may have in its employ or in affiliation with screening test, technicians, breath alcohol technicians, urine collectors, a SAMHSA-compliant laboratory, a substance abuse professional, and medical review officer. Though as a service agent a C/TPA coordinates various drugs and alcohol services of his employer, a Third-Party Administrator cannot act as the designated employer representative (DER).

Roles and Responsibilities of Third Party Administrator

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has not set qualification requirements for a third-party administrator or consortium.  However, a third-party administrator is expected to know all the requirements and responsibilities of an employer as stipulated in DOT 49 CFR Part 40 and Part 382. Other pertinent clauses of DOT 49 CFR Part 40 are those pertaining to CDL licensing (Part383), driver qualifications (Part 391), and driving of commercial motor vehicles (Part 392).

Subpart Q of DOT CFR Part 40 specify the roles and responsibilities of Consortium/Third-Party Administrator. These are:

  • § 40.341–This part discusses service agents’ compliance with DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements
  • § 40.343–Presents what a service agent can do for an employer
  • § 40.345–Enumerates the  circumstances where a C/TPA is permitted to be an intermediary in the transmission of drug and alcohol testing information to employers
    • Q&A    Section 40.345 Questions and Answers
  • § 40.347–Functions of  C/TPAs pertaining to administering testing
  • § 40.349 – Records that may be received and maintained by a service agent
  • § 40.351 – Service agents’ confidentiality requirements
  • § 40.353–Stipulations on allowable interaction between MROs and other service agents
  • § 40.355 – Limitations service agents

Employers are responsible for activities pertaining to the drug testing procedures. They are liable for the mistakes and failings of C/TPA that could lead to civil penalty proceeding for noncompliance.