What Does a Medical Review Officer Do?


pre-employment drug screenIn the field of occupational medicine, a Medical Review Officer or MRO plays a critical role during the employee drug screening process.

The MRO is a licensed physician who works directly with the lab and employer throughout each step of the process. They ensure the data and results gathered during the drug screen are examined properly. In simple terms, an MRO is the glue holding all the important pieces of information together.

As an employer, understanding the role of the MRO in the drug screening process can ensure, as the employer, you carry out all your responsibilities related to drug testing.

What You Need to Know About MRO Responsibilities

As a certified MRO, a physician is well-prepared to handle all essential aspects of workplace drug and alcohol testing programs. A MRO’s major responsibilities include:

  1. Share responsibility with the laboratory to review the drug test custody and control forms, otherwise known as the chain of custody, to make sure everything is completed correctly.
  2. Reviews the results of the drug test. The MRO allows employees whose drug test results are positive with the opportunity to discuss the results and provide an explanation, such as taking prescription medication.
  3. When a positive drug result can be rationalized with a legitimate medical reason, the MRO reports a negative drug screen to the employer.
  4. If a problem in the drug screen process exists, the MRO will notify all involved including the employer, the collection site, lab or federal agency.

A certified MRO may also act as a valuable resource to protect the company, helping with policies and regulatory issues as well as providing related services such as drug testing collections, breath alcohol testing services, coordination of lab services, lab performance testing and preparation of summary reports for employers.

Dr. Toby Hanahan was recently re-certified as a Medical Review Officer by the Medical Review Officer Certification Council (MROCC). The MROCC is an independent physician-based certifying body that conducts a rigorous and extensive application process and written credentialing examination to identify licensed physicians with the highest professional standards of medical expertise and practical skills necessary to evaluate drug and alcohol test results in provide and pubic sectors of the workplace.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with most companies require employee drug and alcohol testing. More than 20 million forensic drug test specimens are processed by certified laboratories each year, and the results of these tests are reviewed and interpreted by highly credentialed physicians acting as certified Medical Review Officers.

If you conduct drug testing in your company and need a certified MRO, contact HealthCare for Business at (440)354-4747.

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