Tennessee: New Reporting Requirements for Healthcare Practitioners’ Drug Tests


All Employers with TN Employees in the Healthcare Industry


July 1, 2017


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Tennessee employers in the healthcare industry now have increased responsibilities when conducting employee drug testing.  Healthcare practitioner (“HCP”) employers must now “promptly” report if or when (1) an HCP employee refuses to submit to any work-related testing for specific drugs, including pre-hire testing, or (2) when an HCP employee tests positive in a secondary drug test that confirms the presence of a specific drug detected in an initial test.  These new reporting requirements are specific to drug testing and do not include alcohol testing.

For the purpose of the new law, a “healthcare practitioner” is defined as any person required to be licensed, permitted, certified, or authorized under Tennessee’s health care laws by any of thirty health care boards (e.g., doctors, nurses, or physicians), alcohol and drug abuse counselors, and certain emergency medical personnel. The requirements for this policy apply to any drug testing for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine.

Within three business days from the time of notification of a confirmed test result, HCP employees are required to respond to the positive result by either:

  • Submitting either a lawful prescription for the drug or a valid medical reason for using the drug to the employer; or
  • Reporting to the state substance abuse peer assistance or treatment program of the HCP’s board.

If an HCP employee fails to comply with the above requirements, the employer must report the non-compliant employee to the Tennessee Department of Health and the appropriate HCP board.  The HCP employee’s license may also be suspended by their board.

The new law does not require HCP employers to share information about drug testing with other healthcare employers, though it permits “quality improvement committees” to share information from HCP’s licensed or certified under Tennessee health care laws.

Action Items

  1. Have drug testing policies and procedures reviewed for compliance with the new requirements.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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