Follow up response to my letter in regards to video surveillance urine drug screen collection in methadone clinics as opposed to standard same sex observers

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This is the completely politically correct response to my letter explaining that videotaping a person collecting a urine drug screen test as opposed to having a live same sex observer in the room was against the 4th amendment of the Constitution.

This is the completely "politically correct" response to my letter explaining that videotaping a person collecting a urine drug screen test as opposed to having a live same sex observer in the room was against the 4th amendment of the Constitution. I actually expected a little more of a response from a person that I know is very intelligent and perhaps that is the reason what is said in the letter is simply 'fluff' or basically a lot of talk that says very little. Below is a copy for you to decide, is this reason enough to substitute a live observer in the bathroom with you when you are required to give a urine drug screen with a video camera, which can be viewed by anyone, man or women, and could be taped or video sniffed and then put on the internet? As a Medical Laboratory Specialist in the Military I had the pleasure of working at some of the most prestigious hospitals in the United States. Hospitals like Walter Reed Army Hospital and Bethesda Naval Hospital, both of which the President goes for treatment. But no hospital I have ever worked at, to include those less prestigious have ever proposed using video cameras as a means conducting an observed urine drug screen for purposes that directly affect their treatment and for good reason, its wrong. I will let you the readers decide. Here is the response to my initial letter writen to the Director of the Methadone clinic.


Today I received your complaint via email. Your complaint is about the camera systems that are being installed in two of the patient restrooms at the facility.  I want to take a minute to explain the rationale for the installation of these cameras in the restrooms.

In April of this year, the West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill No. 265. I am attaching a copy of that bill for your review. In this bill there were several new laws passed that affected Opioid Treatment Programs. On page 9 lines 92-94, you will see that the Legislature made it a law that 100% of urine drug screens must be observed screens. In order to comply with this new state law, we are installing camera systems that monitor only. These cameras do not record. The viewing monitors are located in the nursing station and will only be viewed by medical/nursing personnel. On occasion there still may be times when a person is physically present in the restroom with you while you are submitting a urine specimen that is related to your continued treatment. There is a restroom that will not contain camera monitors that you may use anytime that you are not producing a requested treatment specimen.

I understand your concerns and I am glad that you asked about this new process. Please be assured that your privacy and dignity are our utmost concern as we implement processes to meet the new state law requirements. I want to assure you that the facility is in compliance with all state and federal laws regarding specimen observation. It is not against the law to observe urine screens remotely and in fact, some programs monitor screens this way to give patients more privacy. If the camera systems were not in place there would have to be a person physically present in the restroom with you for 100% of specimens collected for treatment purposes.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Again, this new urine screening observation protocol is being implemented to meet new state law requirements for the provision of urine drug screening.


Clinic Director

Now, after carefully reading this you must think mmm, sounds like a true politician. First Senate Bill No.265 states that urine drug screens must be directly observed. Video cameras are not a direct observation of a collection procedure. They are an indirect or second hand account of the person collecting a specimen. Most importantly in my initial email I stated as a Medical Laboratory Specialist I am able to pick up on bodily reactions and through empathetic responses I can tell if a patient is trying to adulterate a specimen by their body language and so on. Video cameras do not have that empathetic feeling that humans do, that extra sense and therefor it would be much easier for a patient to bamboozle a video observer and give an adulterated specimen. Basically it comes down to manpower and money. The Methadone Clinics are short staffed and in order to comply they have thought of this brilliant idea that a video camera can be used in place of manpower and therefor a male would not have to go in the bathroom every time a male had to give a urine specimen and same goes for a female. But by doing so, they are actually not following HR 265 because nowhere does it say; video surveillance can be used in lieu of a live observer. Also the thought that a patient would feel more privacy having a video camera on them instead of a real person, a person they know and have come to know through weeks, months or even years of interaction is absurd. I am sorry but if I go into the bathroom and there is a camera there, am I going to pull down my pants and sit and do my business, no. Am I going to freshen up my intimate areas, no, so on and on. According to the 4th amendment and video surveillance if it’s in a private area and it is obtrusive to the individual it is in violation of their 4th amendment rights. Hopefully those executives in charge of the companies that run methadone clinics in West Virginia and other States for that matter will realize their mistake and go by the book, literally and follow Senate Bill 265.

I will say it one last time, to sum up my intention for writing my initial letter I want to share with you my feelings about the most sacred and most important document ever drafted in the history of mankind, the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is a document written and signed by the founders of our nation that is the core basis of all of our laws. The Constitution is the most important thing in the life of every person living in the United States. Our way of life is built around it, our government is based on it, and our rights and privileges as a United States citizen are protected by it. To be ignorant of this is to be ignorant of all things our country is. I took an oath at the age of 18 to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic when I joined the United States Army. I am duty bound by that oath if only morally until the day I die. I believe it is the duty of every citizen to uphold these sacred rights, and any violation or infringement that is made against them should be immediately addressed by the people, for it is our solemn duty to do so. Video cameras do not belong in bathrooms or restrooms, people do and that’s the bottom line, period.

Michael Dale Sipes, Jr. MLT

Submitted: May 06, 2015

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