With 25 years of experience in the health care industry, Susan Gunwall realized the need for a drug and alcohol collection business in the area. She created a goal to start a drug and alcohol collection business.
On Dec. 2 she achieved her goal and opened Occutest.
Occutest, a clever name that combines the words "occupational health" and "drug and alcohol test," gives employers and employees a chance to take drug and alcohol tests, among many other things, at a local business. Gunwall collects those tests and sends them to one of her three certified labs, where they are officially tested, and then Gunwall lets the taker know their results.
"Somebody might come through the door for many reasons," Gunwall said. "There might be a situation where they come (because) they have to be tested to see their children ... Somebody might bring in their adult child or teenage child for a test ... An employer may contact me and state that one of their employees is coming in or that they're bringing in an employee for a test."
People can also come in with questions or for walk-in appointments, too. She expects that some will come in with "lots of questions regarding the employer's (drug and alcohol) policy. That doesn't mean at all that they're not going to test drug-free," she said.
Although there are different treatment options in Detroit Lakes, until Gunwall opened Occutest, there weren't any options to take those drug and alcohol tests. As she's lived in DL for about 30 years and graduated from Perham, the need in the area to "provide solutions" was the big reason why she started Occutest, she said.
"My goal is to work with our industry leaders here and not against them. It's to work together to bring solutions," Gunwall said. "We want to bring those things that historically you would have had to go to a metro area (to get)."
Another key reason Gunwall started Occutest is because she knew that truck drivers would have a new system through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), called the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, that they would have to comply with starting Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.
This new Clearinghouse requires all truck drivers -- past, present and future -- and their drug and alcohol history to be in the system. That way, employers can look and see their records easily, instead of trying to find them in their own time. For her contractors, Gunwall is the person that inputs all of this information, getting in contact with employers about history and the truck drivers to get their consent to be in the system.
"They have to give consent if they want to move forward with employment," Gunwall said, clarifying that the consent is just a courtesy. If someone doesn't give it, they cannot be employed as a truck driver.
Offered at Occutest
Gunwall offers five drug-and-alcohol-related services at Occutest, though she plans to expand many more options in the future:
- Drug and alcohol testing: taking and collecting drug and alcohol tests and sending them to one of three certified labs.
- Mobile testing: the same as the above, but done at any location within about 60 miles.
- Training and certification programs: helping others to do what Gunwall does.
- Drug-free workplace program and policy development: offering educational services to both employees and staff about drug-free plans for their workplaces. She can also help them develop their plans based on what the business needs, ranging from basic to comprehensive.
- Third-party administrative services: working with people Gunwall contracts with to make sure the contractors are meeting their regulations and are up-to-date and on time with them.
For the testing options, Gunwall offers both oral fluid and hair follicle testing. The hair follicle tests can provide more specific results than oral fluid tests, which is why Gunwall offers it.
"I want to be sure that prior to the legalization (of marijuana) if legalized ... that we're in a place where we can offer a solution," she said.
The hair follicle tests can help for more drugs than just marijuana. Gunwall isn't sure which drug will be the most common one that she sees at Occutest.
- Where: Occutest, Washington Square Mall, Suite 11, across from Maurices and next to Glik's
- Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, or by appointment
- Phone: 218-844-4010
- Cost: Ranges from $55 to $85