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SAPlist Updates: September 2019

A SAP assessment must be face-to-face

In some SAP circles there has been a rumor that DOT has softened its stance on requiring a face-to-face assessment.  That is not true.  Every assessment, and every follow-up evaluation, must be face-to-face.

In the "SAP Guidelines": 

“Your fundamental responsibility is to provide a comprehensive face-to-face assessment and clinical evaluation…” 
  • “Face-to-face” means the client is sitting in front of you, in your presence. 
  • “Clinical” means you must use an assessment instrument.
“Prior to the employee’s return to safety-sensitive duties, you are required to provide a face-to-face evaluation with the employee…”

“Furnished with information from the education and/or treatment program, the SAP will conduct a face-to-face clinical interview with the employee to discuss the education and/or treatment effort, behavioral changes, and plans for continue treatment plan follow through…”

Question #6.  “Can SAP evaluations be conducted telephonically or online?  SAP evaluations cannot be conducted telephonically or online.  Both the initial and follow-up SAP evaluations are clinical processes that must be conducted face-to-face.”

In Part 40.29:

(a) “As a SAP, you are charged with:
  1. Making a face-to-face clinical assessment and evaluation…
  2. …..
  3. Conducting a face-to-face follow-up evaluation…”

In Part 40.365:

ODAPC gives examples of reasons they would consider issuing a PIE.  One of the reasons DOT would issue a PIE for a SAP is:

(b)(8)    “…performing evaluations without face-to-face interviews.”

Nothing about this requirement has changed.  Every interview must be face-to-face.  A SAP would be in serious trouble if an auditor were to find out from an employee that his/her assessment had been conducted by phone or Skype.

It shouldn’t surprise you when I tell you that I counted the number of times that “face-to-face” appears in Part 40 and the "SAP Guidelines".  ELEVEN.  The words “face-to-face” appear eleven times, related to the SAP process.  I can’t imagine that DOT will ever remove those words from the regulation.  “Face-to-face” is essential to a valid assessment of addiction.

No news from/about the Clearinghouse

We continue to wait for word from FMCSA about registering on the Clearinghouse.  It hasn’t happened yet.  But it will.  Watch your e-mails.

You probably received an e-mail from FMCSA two weeks ago, about SDLAs (State Driver Licensing Agencies).  Some SAPs and MROs were confused by that e-mail.  FMCSA was merely telling SDLAs that they shouldn’t rely on the Clearinghouse for their background checks until January 2023, because it will take 3 years for the information about violations to be fully populated.  As for the Clearinghouse start date, and SAP involvement in the Clearinghouse, nothing has changed.

When a driver drives for more than one DOT employer

SAPs continue to ask me about their responsibility when a driver tells them he has two DOT employers, and that he plans to continue driving for the other employer while he is going through the SAP process.  IMPORTANT:  FMCSA requires a driver to notify each of his other employers in writing that he has a violation, and he must do this by the end of the business day following the day that he was notified of the violation, or before he provides safety-sensitive functions, whichever comes first.

This rule has been in effect since December 2016.  As a SAP, you should tell the driver about this requirement, but also remind the driver that he/she is subject to civil and criminal penalties (at a federal level) if they ignore this violation and continue to drive.

§382.415   Notification to employers of a controlled substances or alcohol testing program violation.

Each person holding a commercial driver's license and subject to the DOT controlled substances and alcohol testing requirements in this part who has violated the alcohol and controlled substances prohibitions under part 40 of this title or this part without complying with the requirements of part 40, subpart O, must notify in writing all current employers of such violation(s). The driver is not required to provide notification to the employer that administered the test or documented the circumstances that gave rise to the violation. The notification must be made before the end of the business day following the day the employee received notice of the violation, or prior to performing any safety-sensitive function, whichever comes first.

SAPlist UREMINDER: SAPlist U For Your Continuing Ed Requirement

SAPlist U provides 12 hours of continuing education related to DOT's testing rules.  It is endorsed by EACC, NASW, and NBCC.  It’s online, convenient, and you can complete it at your own pace.

Go to SAPlist U Continuing Ed
Until next time,

Lee Mauk signature

Lee Mauk  | and SAPlist U
Copyright © 2019, All rights reserved.

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