New Hampshire Mandates a Drug-Free Workplace Policy for Health Care Providers

By Michael Klazema on 8/8/2014

New Hampshire’s House Bill 597 goes into effect August 25, 2014. The bill relates to a drug-free workplace for licensed health care facilities and providers that are licensed under New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 151.  This includes hospitals, home health care providers, residential care facilities, nursing homes, and other licensed facilities and providers.

House Bill 597 requires health care facilities and providers to have a drug-free workplace policy. The policy must establish written procedures for the prevention, detection, and resolution of controlled substance abuse, misuse, and diversion. It will apply to employees, contractors, and agents of the facility who provide direct or hands-on care to clients when acting within the scope of their employment or representation. Facilities and providers must designate an employee or interdisciplinary team of employees to be responsible for the policy.

The new law contains very specific requirements regarding the issues that must be addressed in a drug-free workplace policy.  It must include the following:

  1. Education of health care workers;
  2. Procedures for monitoring storage, distribution, and procurement of inventory if controlled substances are stored, dispensed, or administered at the health care setting;
  3. Procedures for voluntary self-referral by addicted employees;
  4. Procedures for co-worker reporting;
  5. Procedures for drug testing including, at a minimum, testing where reasonable suspicion exists;
  6. Procedures for employee assistance;
  7. Provisions for confidentiality;
  8. A process for the investigation, reporting, and resolution of drug misuse or diversion; and
  9. Consequences for violation of the drug misuse and diversion prevention policy.

The law does not indicate potential penalties for failure to comply. However, it is likely that failure to adopt and implement a drug-free workplace policy will result in the suspension or revocation of a facility’s or provider’s license. RSA § 151:7 permits suspension or revocation by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services where a facility engages in "conduct or practices detrimental to health and safety of patients."

All covered healthcare facilities and providers should review their existing drug testing and prevention policies with experienced legal counsel to ensure that they comply with the new law. 

House Bill 597 is available for review here:

Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • May 18 In search of more personnel and considering normalization, some major employers have elected to drop pre-employment drug screens for marijuana. As the opioid epidemic continues, there is still a role for workplace drug tests.
  • May 15

    A Congressional IT contractor who is facing bank fraud, a class-action lawsuit, and allegations of cyber breach never underwent a background check. Congressional guidelines recommend background screenings but have a loophole that makes it possible to skip them.

  • May 10 Are SSN background checks essential, or even necessary? We look at what Social Security Number data can and cannot do in the background check process.
  • May 10

    In the wake of an attack in which the perpetrator used a rental vehicle to strike pedestrians, and with a growing number of such attacks around the world in recent years, rental companies must consider how to address the issue. Effective security measures have proven difficult to implement.

  • May 08 Some statistics suggest employers aren’t running international background checks. In a job market where foreign candidates are increasingly common, this oversight can be dangerous.
  • May 03

    Despite player numbers in the millions, the primary sanctioning body for youth soccer in the United States established no standard policy requiring background checks. They face legal jeopardy due to the actions of abusive coaches. 

  • May 03 Are you applying for a job with Starbucks? Here’s what to expect from the background check process.
  • May 02 — Further restrictions have been placed on employers that inquire about prior criminal records. Timeframes have been adjusted and asking about expunged records is prohibited. 
  • May 01 Uber is expanding its background check policies. Going forward, the company will incorporate repeat background checks and ongoing criminal monitoring into its driver screening processes.
  • April 28 Airport background checks are governed by the TSA and FAA. They typically include employment history checks, criminal history searches, and a few other elements.