Medical Review Officers and the Verification Process
Organizations covered by DOT regulations must use a Medical Review Officer (MRO) to verify urine drug testing results. This licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy) is the gatekeeper between the laboratory and the employer. The MRO must be knowledgeable about and have clinical experience in controlled substance abuse disorders, including detailed knowledge of alternative medical explanations for laboratory confirmed drug test results; and must be knowledgeable about issues relating to adulterated and substituted specimens as well as the possible medical causes of specimens having an invalid result. Additionally, the MRO must have extensive knowledge of the drug and alcohol testing regulations that cover all divisions of the DOT.
This licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy) is the gatekeeper between the laboratory and the employer’s Designated Employer Representative. The MRO has knowledge of substance abuse disorders and appropriate medical training to interpret and evaluate non-negative test results. The MRO also has extensive knowledge of the drug and alcohol testing regulations that cover all divisions of the DOT. The MRO’s review of drug test results protects both the employee and employer from risks associated with any drug testing program and therefore raises the integrity of the testing program.
Every individual who has a positive laboratory result has an opportunity to speak with an MRO before a final report is made to the company. After interviewing a donor, the MRO may consult with laboratory or collection site, refer the case to a local physician for a face-to-face interview and physical examination , or order a retest of the original specimen.
Once test results are finalized, your Compliance Account Representative will provide those results to you quickly, securely by either E-mail, fax, phone, and U.S. mail. Negative results are released within 18 – 24 hours. Non-negative results, after being reviewed by the MRO are released immediately to the client. The length of time varies due a variety of reasons such as the untimely response of the donor to the MRO’s call, the number of positive drugs detected, and if testing was conducted at the end of a work week.
The two MRO medical societies dedicated to establishing national standards and certification of medical practitioners are the American Association of Medical Review Officers (www.aamro.com) and the Medical Review Officer Certification Council (www.mrocc.org).