Of all the service providers involved in the drug screening process, the Medical Review Officer bears the most important responsibility for the screening process’s integrity and accuracy. Usually, the business’ alcohol and drug-screening program is mostly hidden, running behind the scene to keep workers safe, and the organization protected. Employees get screened, and results often go to the HR professionals, who process it accordingly.
The testing firms, especially people that offer portable on-site testing, help their customers keep things on the move with minimal interference. These professionals simply make the process smooth; there is a great deal going on out of public view to make sure the process is handled with utmost professionalism and impartiality. One crucial member of a firm’s testing team is the MRO or the Medical Review Officer.
These professionals are responsible for guarding the integrity and fairness of every testing sample. While drug-screening organizations rely on the collectors to get the sample and labs to check samples through forensic toxicology, Medical Review Officers is responsible for checking the process in its entirety, as well as following it through until the completion of the process.
Check out this site for more details about forensic toxicology.
Qualifications needed to be a Medical Review Officer
Before starting a career as a review officer, people need to be a physician with a license as a Doctor of Osteopathy or Medical Doctor; but being a licensed doctor is not all that is needed for becoming a professional Medical Review Officer. To get the certification from the MROCC (Medical Review Officer Certification Council), the professional need to complete the approved training course first. Organizations like the ACOEN and AOCOPM provide the classes.
After completing the training program, the professional will be eligible to take the examination conducted by the MROCC. If the person passes the examination, only then is the professional awarded their certification. Requalification training is needed of all officers, usually every five years.
After the prequalification process, the professional need to successfully complete the competency examination that was required in the beginning. These steps will make sure that the professional will remain well prepared and equipped to handle all the things mentioned above, which is needed of them by the United States Department of Transportation.
To what degree do these professionals impact alcohol and drug?
Of all the agents involved in the process, the officer bears the most important responsibility for the screening process’s integrity and accuracy. The professional’s tasks include:
Acting as a middle person with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-certified lab that conducts the screening
Monitoring the process of samples
Following up with other professionals to complete the analysis
These professionals need to follow various regulations to maintain compliance with government standards while working with organizations that fall under the United States Department of Transportation’s supervision.
The professional’s responsibilities according to 49 CFR Part 40.123
They act as gatekeepers for the accuracy of these processes. They make sure of the integrity of the process, including the quality assurance review of sample collections and external laboratory reliability and certification. They also communicate any agent performance problems with companies, laboratories, and collection sites.
These experts can collaborate with ODAPC or the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, as well as the United States Department of Transportation agencies when needed. They will facilitate the processing of test results reporting in a timely manner.
MROs will also facilitate the timely processing of results reporting and review lab results. And lastly, medical review officers evaluate medical explanations for a non-negative finding, as well as investigates and intervenes with the test resulting invalid, substituted, adulterated, or canceled findings, including issues with blind samples. They will also protect the confidentiality of the screening information and perform all functionalities in accordance with the United States Department of Transportation regulations.
For more info about US DOT, check out https://ballotpedia.org/U.S._Department_of_Transportation for more details.
Are they responsible for verifying any prescriptions?
One of the most important aspects of the medical review officer’s job is to verify the worker’s claim that they are taking a medically needed medication. The substance is what caused a non-negative test result. In this situation, the professional will conduct verification interviews with workers.
At that time, the workers need to provide contact information for the doctors who provide the medication and the pharmacist who released the medication. The officer then contacts the pharmacist to get proof that the medication was legally dispensed to the worker.
If the professional is suspicious of the circumstances, the United States DOT encourages them to contact the worker’s reporting licensed physician. This function of the professional’s role verifies the honesty of the worker’s claim. If they are found to be pretty accurate, the expert reports the results as negative.
If they cannot verify the worker’s claim, the result will show positive. No matter what the findings are, the test result will include statements from the Medical Review Officer like “Interview Conducted, Documentation Processed” or “Interview Conducted.”
Are they provided with certain protections?
The organization stated that MROs do not need and must not attempt to acquire the worker’s permission to confer with the prescribing physician. It means they do not need a written authorization to contact the worker’s physician or pharmacist to confirm their claim of a medical explanation for their positive drug screening result.
It is an important legal exemption of the medical privacy law that is provided to MRO services and professionals. With the exemption of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to verify the medical explanation for the positive result, they make sure that the worker’s medical information’s privacy is adequately protected. In some cases, these experts need to evaluate whether the legally prescribed drugs can cause a worker to be unfit to perform the task required to secure their job.
Through the regulations, the government offers special considerations to officers who are providing valuable services. After all, they play an important role in maintaining workplace safety and health all over the country. Experts carrying out verification tasks are exempted from the Health Insurance Accountability and Portability Act, a fact Department of Transportation clarified in their 2012 memorandum.