is an Medical Review Officer (MRO), and why do I need one?
Although not always
required, an MRO is an important part of an effective drug
testing program. An MRO is a licensed medical doctor who
has special training in substance abuse testing. Using an MRO
helps to protect both the employer and the employees.
The MRO reviews the lab results to
makes sure the correct test panel was performed and that the
correct procedures were followed by the collector. When a drug test is
reported positive by the lab, the MRO also contacts the employee to determine if there
is a legitimate medical explanation for the positive lab result.
Some prescription medications or medical treatments can
cause a positive test result. In these cases, the MRO will
obtain verification of a valid prescription or recent medical
treatment. The test result is then reported to the employer as
negative because there is a legitimate, verified medical reason
for the positive lab test result. However, if the employee
is unable to provide a valid medical explanation for a positive
lab test result, the MRO reports the test result as positive
to the employer.
Using an MRO to review and interpret
the laboratory test results protects the employer from having to
make decisions regarding an employee's claims that his or her
drug test result was caused by a medication or medical
treatment. It also keeps the employer from having to deal with
the complicated issues related to the release or disclosure of
private employee medical information.
MRO review is required for every Department of
Transportation (DOT) drug test. It is highly recommended that
employers utilize the services of an MRO for all drug testing,
even if it is not required by state law.
to IHSN's Drug Testing Essentials