Before the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse goes live on January 6, 2020, all carriers and many drivers will have to register to be part of the process. Starting in January, all carriers will have to query the Clearinghouse for driver records on a pre-hire and annual basis, which means that registration is a must. Simply put, if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?!
When Dave Osiecki, President of Scopelitis Transportation, and Sean Garney, Vice President, joined DriverReach CEO Jeremy Reymer on a webinar outlining what carriers and drivers need to know about the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, they walked through a step-by-step registration action plan for carriers.
If you still haven’t registered for the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse – don’t wait any longer! Follow these steps and considerations to be prepared by the January 6 deadline.
Registration Required in Four Systems
If you’ve been thinking that registering for the Clearinghouse sounds overcomplicated, you’re not alone. The registration process requires carriers to register in four different systems, which can make it challenging for carriers looking to move quickly.
Here are the different systems you will have to register for:
Login.Gov: This is a single sign-on (SSO) portal for all federal government sites. Depending on which agencies you’re engaging with (like FMCSA), you’ll be able to log on through SSO with a Login.Gov account. These credentials are the ones you will use to log into the Clearinghouse.
FMCSA Portal: This portal will also be linked to your Clearinghouse account. The FMCSA Portal allows users to engage with multiple FMCSA systems via a single log-in.
The Clearinghouse: This system completes your registration process and is where you’ll actually be running queries and uploading information.
Pay.Gov: This is a secure payment portal for all government agencies. When your team purchases bulk query bundles, this is how you will pay for them.
Rather than recreating the wheel for the Clearinghouse, FMCSA decided to utilize federal systems that are already in place. While it makes sense that the systems are all talking to each other from a data integrity perspective, it can complicate the registration process for motor carriers, which is why following these how-to steps is so important.
How-To: Steps for Registering
Follow these four easy steps to get up and running in the Clearinghouse:
- Create a Login.Gov account. This login is unique for every individual, so anyone who will be accessing the Clearinghouse needs to create their own login.
- Continue through the Clearinghouse registration process. If you have a DOT number, you can link your portal account to your new Clearinghouse account. Here is where things can get a bit complicated. There are two different types of Clearinghouse accounts, so make sure you select the one that makes the most sense for you:
- A company-level account is the official account of a carrier. This account can delegate responsibilities to access accounts. Typically, a team’s Clearinghouse administrator will set up this account and have access.
- An access company information account is just what it sounds like. These accounts can run queries and upload new driver information, but they do not have any administrative rights or access.
One important thing to remember here is that if you’re a carrier with multiple DOT numbers and you want to have a single Clearinghouse company-level account, your administrator can consolidate your DOT numbers in your account.
3. Designate a third-party administrator. Consortium and third-party administrators (C/TPAs) often help carriers comply with federal drug and alcohol testing rules, so FMCSA determined it was appropriate for carriers to grant them access to the clearinghouse.
If you have multiple administrators that handle different parts of the drug and alcohol testing and compliance process, you can add multiple C/TPAs and delineate which part of the process you want each role to govern. Talk with your C/TPAs so you know what part of the process they’ll be responsible for before they sign up. They will also have to register as individuals (see step 1 above) before you can add them to your company account.4. Create your Pay.Gov account. This will help fund your queries and allow your users to start pulling records.
Considerations to Keep in Mind
While registering for the Clearinghouse will set your team up for the January 6 deadline, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First, determine who is going to be in charge of your Clearinghouse program. It’s recommended that each carrier has a single Clearinghouse administrator whose primary job is to manage user roles, query plan purchases, and other critical information. Your team will also have ‘assistant’ roles that can request queries or upload data, but it’s the administrator who will be in charge of assigning these roles.
Additionally, you should also take the time to designate your C/TPAs /roles. If you currently use third-party administrators to help manage compliance, talk with them about their roles and where they can help in the new Clearinghouse process. If there is a gap anywhere in the query request or reporting process, it’s better to know sooner rather than later so your team can fill these holes.
Want to learn more? Keep checking the DriverReach blog for more information on the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse as it is released!
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