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Medical Review Officer. Responsibilities Within Drug Screening Process

Occupational Health

Drug screening, MRO, medical review officer, drug screening process

The role of a Medical Review Officer (MRO) is an incredibly important one in the realm of workplace drug testing. Having a qualified individual to objectively review both results and medical records creates a fair and accountable playing field for both the employer and the employee.

What Is an MRO?

A Medical Review Officer is a licensed physician whose primary role is to provide employers with carefully researched drug test result reports. They act as a sort of liaison between the employee and employer. This allows employers to make prudent management decisions without compromising their legal limitations (such as delving into an employee’s personal medical history).

Qualifications and Responsibilities of the MRO

There are several qualifications and responsibilities an MRO must have and carry out. In order to become a Medical Review Officer and carry out the job properly, an individual must:

  • Hold a current license as an MD (medical doctor) and be in good standing with state and federal governing boards.
  • Manage a chain of custody for each sample tested.
  • Review the drug test results.
  • In the case of test showing levels of a banned substance, the MRO must give the employee a chance to have a private one-on-one conversation to explain results (for instance, an employee taking prescribed narcotics for pain).
  • If the above-mentioned scenario provides a valid explanation backed up by evidence of prescription use, the MRO must report a negative result to the employer.
  • Should an employee test positive and have no valid explanation, it is also the responsibility of the Medical Review Officer to report these findings to the employer.
  • If problems arise, the MRO gives feedback to any necessary parties, including the employer, lab, collection site or federal agency.

The MRO Review

The MRO review provides a consistent and unbiased means to protect both the employer and employee in the drug testing process.

For instance, if a sample shows the use of opiates, the MRO will notify the employee of the findings. At this point, the employee is given the opportunity to get in contact with the MRO and give an explanation as to why there were opiates found in their urine or blood. If they are able to provide information showing they have a valid prescription for the drugs found in their system, then the MRO is legally bound to report a negative test result. This protects the individual from scrutiny and protects their rights under the Privacy Rule.

Conversely, if an employee is found to have drugs in their system with no legal explanation, the employer has peace of mind knowing that the results are unbiased and have a strong backing from a third party. This helps protect the employer legally, as it would be nearly impossible for a disgruntled employee to accuse an employer of tampering with or reporting false results.

The MRO is also responsible for securing what is called a “chain of custody.” This ensures that there is a completely traceable trail from the moment a sample is collected until the MRO reports to the employer. This ensures that the sample is less likely to get mixed up with another, contaminated or otherwise tampered with.

Finding an MRO

Finding a qualified MRO is not as easy as it might sound. Here at Origin, we have a top-notch in-house MRO working with us, allowing us to provide a full range of employee drug testing services. Combined with digital connections to all of the labs, we can provide fast, accurate and reliable drug testing results. Origin has manufactured a digital system that eliminates errors such as a chain of custody being forgotten or filled out incorrectly. Through this paperless platform, Origin has digitally integrated with clinics Nationwide and allows you to digitally schedule an employee drug test. Imagine being able to track the entire drug testing process without having to pick up the phone! The Origin system is transparent and allows you to be in the loop every step of the way. This means no waiting on hold with clinics and wasting valuable time. Leave drug testing to the experts, leave it to Origin.Combined with our wide range of other offerings, Origin is your go-to for all your workforce verification needs.

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