Health industry: NH drug testing bill too vague

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm •  Published: February 26, 2013

Miller added there is already a system for testing workers that give employers probable cause, such as showing signs of intoxication on the job. Devon Chaffee, with The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, said drug testing without probable cause could violate worker's constitutional rights.

Steve Ahnen, President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, said his group is not taking a position on the legislation, but thanked lawmakers for working to address the issue.

"(This bill) is a measure that was introduced in the wake of the tragic events that occurred last summer," he said, referring to the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital, "I just want to comment about what an awful and horrific situation that was and is for those patients their families and their caregivers."

David Kwiatkowski, a traveling medical worker whom prosecutors describe as a "serial infector," was hired in Exeter in April 2011 after working in 18 hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. Thirty-two Exeter Hospital patients have been found to have the same strain of the liver-destroying virus Kwiatkowski carries.

Rep. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, a physician at Exeter hospital who serves on the hospital associations steering committee, said the bill was written prior to the hospital association developing recommendations in order to meet the filing deadline. He added it will likely be amended before the House committee votes on it.