GME Consortium Policy on Non-nicotine Hiring Policy for BJH/SLCH-employed Housestaff
BJC strives to improve the health and well-being of our employees, patients and community. As part of this goal to be healthy role models for our community, BJC only hires nicotine-free applicants who commit to remaining nicotine-free during their employment at BJC HealthCare. Housestaff physician employees of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital must test negative for nicotine at the time of hire. Housestaff physician employees who test positive will be required to complete the BJC-approved smoking cessation program “Quit for Life®” within the first six months of employment. Housestaff physician employees (“employees”) enrolled in the BJC medical plan will receive the Quit for Life® program at zero cost. Those who are not enrolled in a BJC medical plan will have to pay tax on the value of the program (approximately $55, based on a 15% tax rate). The tax will be withheld from the employee’s paycheck. Failure to complete the program will result in termination of employment and removal from the training program. Terminations based on failure to complete the tobacco cessation program cannot be appealed through the GME appeal process.
1. When will this test be administered? The test will be administered on the day the employee is hired and on-boarded, which is typically the first day of hospital orientation.
2. What is this test? It is a urine test for cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine.
3. How long does the test remain positive after one quits smoking? Research shows that nicotine can be detected in an individual’s system anywhere from 4 days up to 3 months, depending on the amount of tobacco smoked, the number of years of smoking tobacco, the type of tobacco product used, how long it takes for the body to metabolize and the type of nicotine test performed.
4. Does the test pick up smoking cessation aids? Yes, employees using a nicotine-based smoking cessation aid (e.g. nicotine patches or nicotine gum) will test positive.
5. Does the test pick up second-hand smoke? No. The sensitivity for the test has been set such that non-smoking employees exposed to second-hand smoke will not test positive.
6. Is it possible to have a false-positive test? False positive tests may occur if there has been recent consumption of foods containing thiocyanate (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, almonds, mustards) or intake of certain medications such as amphetamines (e.g Adderall). If the test is thought to be a false positive, we will work with the employee to repeat the test.
7. What is the Quit for Life Program® and how do I enroll? Quit for Life® is a tobacco-cessation program sponsored by the American Cancer Society and is the nation’s leading tobacco-cessation program. When you join the program, Quit For Life® will help you create an easy-to-follow Quitting Plan that will show you how to get ready, take action and then live the rest of your life as a non-smoker. The program allows you to go at your own pace, consisting of five phone sessions.
To enroll in Quit For Life® or to obtain more information, go to www.quitnow.net/bjc or call 866-784-8454.
8. Is there a cost for participating in the tobacco cessation program? Employees enrolled in the BJC medical plan will receive the Quit for Life® program at zero cost. Those who are not enrolled in a BJC medical plan will have to pay tax on the value of the program (approximately $55, based on a 15% tax rate). The tax will be withheld from the employee’s paycheck.
9. Will employees who test positive for nicotine be re-tested after participating in the Quit for Life® program? No, employees will not be re-tested. The only requirement at this time is completion of the tobacco cessation program.
10.How long do I have before I must complete the Quit for Life® Program? You are expected to complete the program within your first six months of employment at BJC HealthCare.