Healing Arts, LLC ~ Integrated Counseling Services for Adults and Adolescents

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Maria Sorensen, MA, LAADC, SAP
DOT Substance Abuse Professional {SAP} Services

"I'm a fully qualified and trained Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) under US Department of Transportation regulations working independently to serve the Rhode Island area with offices in North Kingstown, RI, Voluntown CT, and Attleboro, MA.  Through my many contacts and broad range of experience, I maintain close professional relations with service providers. This allows me to provide client referrals to high quality education and/or treatment programs with rapid admission privileges that in turn accelerates the return-to-work process". 

My Bio~

Maria Sorensen, MA, LAADC, SAP, an expert in the treatment of addiction, is the Co-Founder and Director of Healing Arts, LLC. She is a qualified Substance Abuse Professional {SAP} with over 10 years experience working with the FMCSA and the trucking industry as well as the USCG, FAA, FTA, FRA, USCA and PHMSA.


Maria obtained her Masters degree in Counseling from Salve Regina University in 1996 where she learned to integrate a more holistic approach to help others. She respects the individuality and uniqueness of each person. Depending on a person's needs, she is able to offer clients expressive arts, coaching, hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness,, spirituality, Reiki and EMDR along with traditional "talk therapy" to help facilitate their healing process.

Maria acquired her license with the State of Rhode Island as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional in 1995. She has over 25 years working in the field of addiction and substance abuse. Prior to opening Healing Arts, she worked as a Substance Abuse Therapist in various levels of care. She is an independent family interventionist with a strong 12-step background.


Who would need a SAP Evaluation?

If you are employed in a Department of Transportation safety-sensitive position that falls under the:

  • FMCSA - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • FAA - Federal Aviation Administration
  • USCG - United States Coast Guard
  • FRA - Federal Railroad Administration
  • PHMSA - Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
  • FTA - Federal Transit Administration

     And have violated the Federal DOT drug and alcohol regulations by testing positive for drugs, an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater, refusing a test, not able to provide a specimen in a timely manner or failing to take a test, then you must be immediately removed from your DOT safety-sensitive duties.

     In order for you to be considered for return to any DOT safety-sensitive role in the transportation industry or be hired by a different DOT-covered employer you must successfully complete the DOT return-to-duty process.  This will require the involvement of a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
**Initial Evaluation can usually be offered within 24 to 48 hours**

*SAP Services~

Assessment and Evaluation

Treatment Referral

Monitoring

Follow-up Testing Plan

Final Return to Work Evaluation

Comprehensive Report

Company Policy and Procedure Development and Modification

Alcohol & Drug Education Education for Employees, Human Resource, DER, Supervisors and Mangers.


*SAP services are usually not covered by health insurance. Please contact us for more information about our fees.


What is a Substance Abuse Evaluation?

A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Evaluation is required when an employee has violated Department of Transportation guidelines 49 CFR 

Part 40.  Public safety is a priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  So to that end the DOT has developed regulations to ensure that transportation providers employ workers who are drug and alcohol free. 


 DOT has established regulations to prevent through deterrence and detection those who use alcohol and controlled substances from performing transportation industry safety-sensitive functions.  This includes aviation, commercial motor carriers, maritime, pipeline, railroad, and transit employees.

Employers are not required to provide for a SAP evaluation however if the employer offers an employee the opportunity to return to a DOT safety-sensitive duty following a violation, an employer must ensure that the employee  receives and evaluation by a SAP and that the employee successfully complies with the SAP evaluation and recommendations.  Payment for SAP evaluations and services are left for the employee and employer to decide which may be governed by existing management-labor agreements and health care benefits.  Refer to SAP Fees for further explanation.

What qualifies a Substance Abuse Professional?

A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a specially qualified substance abuse clinician who has met credentialing, basic knowledge, training, continuing education requirements and then passed an exam to be certified as a Substance Abuse Professional.  The SAP has an enormous responsibility to the public.  The SAP is a major decision point an employer may have in deciding whether to place an employee behind the steering wheel of a school bus, in the cockpit of a plane, at the throttle of a train, or behind the wheel of a freight carrier, or other public transportation.

The SAP is not an advocate for the employer or the employee.  The overarching function of the SAP is to protect the public interest of safety by professionally performing specific DOT mandated Return to Duty (RTD) functions.  The role of the SAP is to make a face-to-face clinical assessment and evaluation to determine what assistance is needed by the employee to resolve the problems associated with alcohol and/or drug use.  Refer the employee to the appropriate education and or/treatment program.  Conduct a face-to-face follow-up evaluation to determine if the employee has successfully complied with the initial assessment and treatment recommendations.  The SAP role also includes providing the Designated Employer Representative (DER) with a follow-up testing plan and continuing education and or treatment.  The SAP evaluator must follow the employee through the entire process until the time the employee is ready to return to work.  Once the employee begins the process with one SAP, s/he must stay with that SAP throughout the process.


SAP Process~
An employee will be referred for an evaluation because of a positive drug test, an alcohol test with an alcohol concentration of .04 or greater, or a refusal to test in accordance with DOT Rules and Regulations.  The following is a summary of what will occur:

  1. You will be notified by the Medical Review Office (MRO) that your test results are positive for drugs or a Breathalyzer Alcohol Technician (BAT) notified you of a positive alcohol test.
  2. DOT mandates that you be referred to a SAP for an evaluation in resolving problems associated with misuse of alcohol or the use of controlled substances.
  3. When the SAP recommends treatment, your employer and you will be given a written recommendation specifying the approximate duration of treatment and the level of care.*
  4. The SAP will provide you with the appropriate referral, which is consistent with clinically evaluated needs and will take into consideration your insurance coverage, your ability to pay for treatment, and employer’s policies regarding availability of a leave of absence.
  5. If you have been terminated from employment and would like to pursue the evaluation in hopes of obtaining another safety- sensitive position the SAP recommendation may be provided to you and a copy retained for any further employer.
  6. As a DOT client, you are expected to participate in treatment as outlined by the treatment provider and the SAP.  If you resist or fail to comply, the treatment provider will discharge you for non-compliance.  This course of action will prevent you from working in a safety sensitive position.
  7. The SAP will hold a follow-up evaluation to review your compliance with the initial treatment recommendation.  You will be required to follow the treatment provider’s recommendation for continuing care and meeting attendance.
  8. The SAP will submit in writing to your employer a summary outlining the initial assessment and participation in treatment.  The SAP will also recommend to the employer that you pass a return to duty test for drugs or alcohol, plus order the mandated DOT follow-up testing schedule.

*Appropriate education, treatment and follow-up testing may include but not limited to drug/alcohol self-help and community lectures that can be verified, alcohol & other drug information school, in-patient hospitalization, partial in-patient treatment, or out-patient counseling programs and aftercare, and a minimum of six unannounced follow-up test in  the first 12 months of safety sensitive duty following the employee’s return to safety-sensitive functions.