Debbie Olivera – Assistant manager at Bio-Med Testing Services
“I believe drug testing truly helps the community,” states Debbie Olivera, Assistant manager at Bio-Med Testing Services in Salem. Drug testing is crucial for a company since workers on drugs are a liability. For example, tardiness, sick days, employee theft, safety risks and driving hazards can cause problems.
Debbie believes Bio-Med stands out above the others because the staff takes pride in keeping their clients in compliance. “When one of our clients goes through a successful compliance review, we take pride in knowing that we had a big part in that.”
The drug testing industry is a difficult one to understand because so many components come into play. Debbie helps Bio-Med clients understand why it is important to not only do the testing, but to follow procedures and guidelines. “That is why Bio-Med provides so many educational trainings,” Debbie asserts.
A Designated Employee Representative (DER) is a key person in each company regarding drug testing. Debbie strongly encourages her clients to have an employee take the DER class Bio-Med provides. “A person may have been in HR for years, but never been involved in drug testing,” Debbie describes, “so they need to get trained. It’s a different world, and every time you get a handle on it, things change. We do a lot of education on ‘reasonable suspicion’ to keep our clients out-of-court.”
Bio-Med has clients all over the country. Sometimes a client has a ‘random pick’, meaning one of their drivers is selected to do a random drug test, but the driver is in Oklahoma at the moment. “Some collection sites are great about working with the forms and making the test possible,” Debbie points out. “Others are not. We work with collection sites that are trained in DOT collections to assure a non-eventful testing process.”
Companies cannot plan ahead for accidents, so Debbie helps when post-accident drug testing is needed. When an accident occurs several states away, DOT regulations require a drug test within a specified number of hours. If the driver has a difficult time making this happen, Debbie helps find a collection site and, if needed, helps the collection site work through the paperwork.
Timeliness in the drug testing industry is very important. For a company governed by DOT regulations, the company cannot put a new driver behind the wheel until the driver has a negative pre-employment test. The company may have a truck ready to go, so a quick turnaround gets the driver behind the wheel and saves the company money that would have be lost if the truck stayed sidelined.
A lot of companies will not put a person to work, even if the employee is not in a safety sensitive position, until the employee successfully passes a pre-employment test. Timeliness is important for the person applying and for the employer. Rapid turnaround means money in both of their pockets. “Since we have an in-house MRO,” Debbie explains, “our turnaround time is very quick.”
When a new business becomes a Bio-Med client, Debbie determines the needs of the company and sets up a random testing program, in which the employer determines how they want Bio-Med to run their random testing pool (within state regulations). When Debbie sees their first few drug tests come through, she calls the owner to find out if the process went well for them, if the employees had a good experience with Bio-Med and if there are areas of needed improvement. Most employers are surprised when Debbie calls and really appreciate the care Debbie and the staff give them.
The Bio-Med staff has a very high level of competency. “There is so much knowledge in our building,” Debbie shares. “We have experts in different fields and no one is afraid to share his or her knowledge. I have worked in places where someone is really knowledgeable in an area, but they do not want to share with anyone because of job security.” Debbie insists that is not the case at Bio-Med. “For instance, we have a DOT project manager who lives and breathes DOT regulations and compliance, but if one of us has a question, she walks us through why she does what she does so that we understand it.”
Every DOT test goes to Medical Review. However, for non-DOT tests, usually only the positive tests go to Medical Review. “I have a Medical Review Officer Assistant certification,” Debbie explained, “skills which I use when I work in Bio-Med’s MRO division. Our in-house MRO services speed up turnaround time.” Debbie is also a Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT), a Notary Public and a Certified Professional Collector (CPC).”
For those being tested, the Bio-Med staff provides a professional, clean and friendly environment. “Colleen takes pride in the businesses she owns,” Debbie explains, “and it shows. We are also very sensitive.” Not everyone is testing for pre-employment. Others come in for child custody reasons, at the request of their attorney, because of a court order, etc. “Those are sensitive issues. We do not want to be so professional that we are unresponsive to human situations. We balance a mix of friendliness with professionalism.”
“I am a very positive person,” Debbie reveals. “I also like to help, so instead of saying ‘we can’t do that’, I’m an advocate for finding ways to make it happen. I am honest, hard-working and dedicated, which is important in the drug testing field. What I do is a reflection on Bio-Med and since I am a part of the brand, I feel it’s important to do quality work. If I don’t follow through, Bio-Med didn’t follow through. Personally, a good reputation is important to me because it’s a reflection of me.”
Debbie says she has been close to people with substance abuse issues, so it is important to her to do what she can to make a difference so someone else doesn’t have to go through the same pain.
There is low turnover at Bio-Med. “The reason we hire new people is because we are growing,” Debbie says, “and there is a need to expand our team. There are real growth opportunities at Bio-Med and I want to share in that adventure. In the seven years I have been here, I have seen much growth in the company. Our owner, Colleen, is always looking for another avenue in which to help people. It’s not always about growing the business – it’s about how we can help. Colleen looks for ways she can help clients so they are safe, informed and in compliance. I like being part of that.”
Debbie proudly states, “People choose our services over those of other drug testing companies because we truly care. Our customer service, integrity, follow-through and one-on-one attention gives people a service that is hard to replicate.”