A Complete Guide To Hiring A TPA

A Complete Guide To Hiring A TPA

Partnering your company with a TPA means you’re adding an extra level of security to your business. By working with a third-party administrator you can spend less time developing policy, running background checks, and setting up drug tests.

TPA’s can handle all of this for you so you can spend more time focusing on what really needs to be done. So let’s answer the first question you likely have: just what is a TPA & why should my company partner with one? 

What Is A TPA?

A TPA or a C/TPA, or Consortium/Third Party Administrator (also referred to as a “service agent”), manages all or part of your company’s non-DOT or DOT drug and alcohol testing program.

A comprehensive TPA also helps you create drug-free workplace programs and stays on top of any changes to federal laws for you. Simply put, a good TPA makes the intimidating process of compliance easier.

Employer DOT Drug Testing Responsibilities

  • Under DOT Rule 49 CFR Part 40, all company officials, representatives, and agents (including service agents) must also meet the DOT requirements.
  • DOT tests must be separate from non-DOT tests in every manner. They must be conducted and completed before beginning a non-DOT test. DOT test specimens are only allowed to be used for DOT-regulated drug testing and not for any other purpose. One exception may be for a physical test.
  • Remember, you must only use DOT forms for DOT tests.
  • You are responsible for the management of a random drug testing program. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a minimum of 50% of employees to undergo random drug testing and 10% random alcohol testing.

Am I Required To Hire A TPA?

It depends on your industry. If you own and operate a safety-sensitive vehicle (truckers, for example), you are required to hire a TPA to manage your drug/alcohol testing program.

Businesses that fall under the safety-sensitive category may run their own testing programs in-house. However, facility and collection processes must meet DOT drug testing regulations, and managing that on your own can be daunting. You’ll want to weigh the cost of doing it yourself over hiring a CPA.

When you hire a TPA that’s fully trained in DOT regulations and compliance, liability is no longer your burden to bear alone. TPAs specialize in DOT and FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations and stay on top of changes for you.

Under The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991, the following industries must enforce drug & alcohol testing:

  • The U.S. Coast Guard
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
  • Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
  • Department of Defense
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC)

Health Screening Company Vs. A Drug/Alcohol Testing Company?Health Screening Company Vs. A Drug/Alcohol Testing Company?

An occupational health company, like a medical clinic, may seem to be a convenient drug and alcohol, screening partner. Many safety-sensitive jobs require a physical, usually done in a clinic. It may seem convenient to let the clinic perform the drug/alcohol test as well.

However, drug and alcohol testing isn’t their primary focus, as occupational health clinics focus on physical health and wellness. As a result, your employees will most likely face long wait times for testing.

Usually, a receptionist or lower-level employee administers the test, not a medical professional. You need to ask if they are DOT qualified collectors; if they’re not, they aren’t usually up to speed on DOT drug testing regulations. They don’t typically keep up-to-date on the laws that regulate your business and can’t always answer your compliance questions.

A TPA that only focuses on drug/alcohol testing and drug-free workplace policies has been well trained in DOT drug and alcohol collections. Drug/alcohol testing is their business. It’s their job to know all the laws, rules, and regulations governing your business.

Hiring A TPA: 8 Questions You Should Ask

Hiring a TPA (Third Party Administrator) to manage your drug and alcohol testing program can be stressful, particularly when it comes to regulation-based testing. Before you make that big decision, consider the following 8 simple questions that can help you properly hire a great TPA for the least amount of money.

Will I Be Able To Get A Hold of Someone Who Can Answer My Question Within Two Minutes During Business Hours?

Your time is valuable so this is important when managing employees and resolving questions and issues quickly.

Will I have 24-Hour Access To Services In An Emergency Situation?

Look for a TPA that provides 24-hour collection services. Employees involved in a workplace accident must be tested as soon as possible. Knowing who to call and that you can call at any hour any day takes the pressure off of your supervisors in a stressful situation.

Will I Get A Response To My Emails Within Two Business Hours?

Your non-emergency questions are still important, so you should expect a quick response from your TPA.

Will I Be Notified of Department Of Transportation (DOT) Compliance Changes Via Email?

A TPA’s job is to keep you up-to-date on compliance changes and make sure you are within regulations, via email, phone call, text; whatever it takes.

Will I Have Access To A Drug Testing Facility Near Me Anywhere In The Country?

Having a large network is vital in keeping up with regulation requirements. Also, you don’t need more than one TPA for different business locations.

Will All Of My Drug Testing Be Federally & State Compliant?

This one is obvious. Your TPA absolutely SHOULD be doing everything in their power to keep you compliant.

Will I Be Able To Utilize Electronic-Pass Drug Testing?

Paper forms are quickly disappearing; make sure you have a TPA that is up to date with the latest innovations in technology!

Will I Be A Name Instead Of A Number?

As with anything, you should be more valuable than a number and so are your employees. Make sure your TPA shares your values.

The Lobdock Advantage

The benefits of a drug and alcohol policy are clear: reduced turnover, increased productivity, lower costs in employee healthcare, fewer workers’ compensation claims, and overall improved morale.

Workplace safety compliance programs are often clearly defined by state and federal agencies, like the Department of Transportation (DOT). If you are a private company, developing and maintaining an effective drug and alcohol testing policy can become a full-time job.

How can the Lobdock Advantage help you deliver these results without spending the time it’s taking you now?


If you don’t already have a policy in place as a non-regulated business, Lobdock can help make this process simple. We have worked with multiple industries to create their policies and we can help you think through everything you need to consider.

Initial policy creation isn’t the only thing to think about. Lobdock doesn’t stop there – we will take care of maintaining the policy you carefully created and the testing that goes along with it.

Faster Testing, Less Lost Time

At our core, Lobdock exists to get your employees through the testing process quickly and securely with accurate results. We offer 24 hour and mobile testing to ensure you have access to the resources you need anytime, anywhere.

Our drug testing is faster than occupational health facilities, meaning less time off work for employees. We work with companies of all sizes, which means there is a testing option right for your company and your industry.
Lobdock also runs random drug testing, whether you are in your own pool or join our consortium. We can handle all aspects of a random drug testing process, including selection, notification, and alerting you of results.

Keeping Up with the Regulations

Lobdock knows that keeping up with regulatory changes at state and federal agencies can be overwhelming, not to mention the legislation facing industries on issues like legalizing marijuana.

Drug testing policies need to change with time and our commitment is to know what is happening and help you keep your policies up-to-date. Lobdock can manage your testing programs and ensure complete compliance with your policy.

Training the Trainers

There is a lot to keep up with, and our job is to make sure you can do your job effectively – all of it. We provide drug and alcohol policy training and compliance training for supervisors that includes understanding the physical impact of drugs and alcohol in the body, reasonable suspicion confrontation, and how to follow through with enforcement.

Customer Service Is Our Priority

Your time is valuable. When you’re looking for a drug and alcohol TPA you’re looking for expertise, but most importantly, you need to receive the answers and assistance you need in a timely manner.

At Lobdock our clients experience quick response times – no long hold times on the phone or getting passed from person to person. When you call Lobdock, a live person answers. We can immediately address your questions and get you on your way.

Lobdock offers the professional expertise you’ve been looking for with the personal touch you’ve been missing from your current TPA.

Give us a call today at 405-822-0553 and experience the Lobdock Advantage!