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When an employee undergoes drug testing, a medical review officer reviews the results. But what exactly does an MRO do? Read on to find out what an MRO is and the part he or she plays in the drug testing process.

What is an MRO for drug testing?

A Medical Review Officer is a licensed physician holding either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree. MROs are different from medical examiners. They are the ones who analyze the laboratory results of a drug test.

MROs are familiar with both prescribed and illegal drugs. They also know anti-drug laws and guidelines very well. MROs must also pass a nationally recognized board exam and maintain their certifications by retaking the same exam every five years.

Work Process of a Medical Review Officer

So what exactly does an MRO do when it comes to drug testing measures? Here is a step-by-step process.

Step 1: Reviewing Laboratory Results Generated

When an employee of the company has provided a sample to the drug testing lab, the lab tests it immediately. The lab then sends its findings to the MRO.

Step 1.1: If Test Result is Negative

If the test is negative, the MRO will verify the result, then send it to the employer.

Step 1.2: If Test Result is Non-Negative

If the result comes back as non-negative, the MRO will first double-check to see if it correct. If it is, the MRO has 72 hours to contact the employee.

Step 2: Interviewing the Employee

The MRO will have to talk to the employee to check if they are on any treatments or have any other medical explanations for non-negative or positive results.

Step 2.1: If the Employee Fails to Respond

The MRO will try three times to contact the employee and wait for 72 hours for him or her to respond. If there is no response, the MRO will ask the employer to tell the employee to contact the MRO. The MRO will not give the employer any specifics about the result.

Step 2.2: When the Employee Responds

The MRO will ask the employee for any medical explanations for the non-negative result, like a prescription drug. If there is a valid explanation, the MRO will classify the test as negative. If the employee doesn’t have a good reason, the MRO will report the test as positive.

Having an MRO review test results protects individuals from being wrongly accused of using illegal drugs and the employer from being sued by any employee fired for failing a drug test.

Are MROs required in all drug tests?

MROs are mandatory for drug tests for employees who have safety-related functions regulated by the Department of Transportation, as outlined in 49 CFR Part 40. MRO services are optional for those who do not fall under these regulations, though it is ideal for employers to use them.

To summarize, the MRO ensures the accuracy and integrity of drug test results and helps to confirm if the tested employee has a legitimate medical explanation if he or she has a positive drug test result. That way, employees won’t face wrongful termination, and employers won’t have to worry about facing any legal battles.

 

Want to know more about drug testing? Read other blog articles here at Ovus Medical.