Medical review officers (MROs) are an important part of the drug testing process. Just what is an MRO, and why do you need one?
We all know that substance abuse in the workplace can have dire consequences — low productivity, conflicts within the organization, and even safety concerns — which is the reason why a lot of companies take the initiative and invest time and resources to establish a drug-free workplace. This can be achieved through the creation of a proper drug-free workplace policy, but the process doesn't end there.
Even once the drug test results are in, there's one more crucial step. This is where the MRO comes in.
What is a Medical Review Officer?
An MRO is a licensed physician with a recognized medical degree and a vast and accurate knowledge of substance use and abuse, backed by training and medical experience and confirmed through appropriate certifications.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine specifies that MROs commonly have a certification in medical toxicology or pharmacology specifically. They're trained to work with bodily fluids and breath, and they're well-versed in the signs and symptoms of drug use and abuse.
The MRO is meant to serve as an objective third party — assuring their analysis of drug test results is accurate and unbiased.
Some of the responsibilities of a medical review officer include the following.
MROs Review and Evaluate Drug Test Results
After the results are rendered, it's the MRO's responsibility to review and evaluate them. They ensure the validity of testing and confirm both positive and negative test results.
A positive test result can affect the employee as well as the company, so the outcome of the test — especially if it's positive — must be carefully analyzed.
For instance, a positive drug test result may or may not be caused by substance abuse. There are times when taking prescription medication can affect the test results. The MRO will determine if the individual being tested has a valid reason for testing positive due to responsible medication use.
They Provide Feedback and Options for Next Steps
Should an individual test positive for drugs or alcohol, the MRO can be of assistance in establishing what happens next. As they're thoroughly educated on a wide span of drugs, medical conditions, and addiction issues, they can help clarify an appropriate course of action when an employee tests positive.
The Advantages of Having an MRO
Now that you know exactly what an MRO does, let's talk a little more specifically about the benefits of having one work with your company.
1. An MRO Confirms the Validity and Accuracy of the Procedures on the Employer's Behalf
To guarantee that the right actions are made in response to a positive test result, having extensive knowledge in the field of substance use is necessary. An MRO has the knowledge as well as the experience to determine whether the process done is valid or not.
Moreover, an MRO can oversee the testing procedure to make sure that the right methods and actions are taken.
2. They Clarify Positive Test Results
Handling interviews with employees who test positive can be a sensitive territory. Furthermore, judgment can be inaccurate if you're not equipped with the right information.
An MRO can ease this process by conducting confidential interviews by themselves and then providing you with accurate feedback based on their evaluation — negative if the employee provides a valid explanation with proof or positive if the employee cannot provide one.
3. An MRO Protects the Employer and Employees
MROs relieve the employer of the heavy responsibility of making decisions based on the employee's claims. Additionally, an MRO can preserve the confidentiality of the testing results to protect the employees' integrity.
US Drug Test Centers works with MROs to review and verify drug test results so you can rest assured that the process is done professionally, appropriately, and with utmost care. We can further help you maintain a drug-free workplace with additional services we offer.
- We can guide you through the process of creating a drug-free workplace policy (or improving the one you currently have) in compliance with the laws of the state where you do business and the federal law. If your business falls under the Department of Transportation, we'll make sure you're compliant with the DOT as well as your own agency.
- We'll manage the random selection of employees for random drug testing, to prevent bias and to assure employees that the selection is indeed done randomly since the list of participants is provided by a third-party.
- We develop and execute DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing programs.
- We can train your designated employer representative (DER) to help you oversee drug-related issues within the workplace.
- We offer a number of other drug-free workplace training for supervisors and staff.
- We always prioritize working with SAMHSA-certified laboratories, which meet requirements for rigorous quality control and chain-of-custody procedures.
- We'll give you access to our state-of-the-art, cloud-based software — at no additional cost — so you can order drug and alcohol tests 24/7, access test verification from your MRO, manage the testing process, and so much more.