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DOT Drug Testing and the Certified MRO: Requirements and Responsibilities

Drug testing within the Department of Transportation is not only mandatory, but it is essential in acquiring and maintaining a safe and efficient workforce. All federally-mandated drug test results are reviewed by a Certified Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO serves as the common point of contact between all participants in a drug test (i.e., the donor, the collector, the test facility, and the Federal agency’s designated representative).

The MRO demonstrates competence in:

  • Substance Abuse
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Lab Issues
  • Clinical Aspects
  • Regulatory Issues and MRO Role
  • Collections and Procedures

The MRO must hold a current medical license to practice medicine in the United States and Territories, or outside the U.S with a valid medical license from the country in which they reside and practice. In order to become certified, the candidate must successfully pass a rigorous certification examination, following a training course. A Certified Medical Review Officer to review and evaluate federally-mandated drug testing results is a critical part of maintaining the integrity of the medical review process.

MRO responsibilities are as follows:

  • Act as an independent gatekeeper and advocate for the integrity of the drug testing process
  • Provide quality assurance by reviewing CCF documentation, providing feedback to employers, collection sites and laboratories on performance issues when necessary.
  • Report to ODAPC or relevant U.S DOT agency for assistance as needed
  • Employers or service agents may not impede MRO communications with ODAPC/U.S DOT agencies
  • Determine whether there is a legitimate medical explanation for a confirmed positive, adulterated, substituted or invalid drug test results from the laboratory. This activity is not to be construed as a doctor-patient relationship
  • MROs may not be in a conflict-of-interest relationship with a laboratory.
  • Investigate and correct problems where possible and notify the appropriate parties as needed.
  • Assure the timely flow of drug test results and other information to employers.
  • Protect the confidentiality of the drug testing information
  • Perform all functions in compliance with U.S DOT agency rules

Medical Review Officer ResponsibilitiesAccording to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the final review of results is an essential component of any drug testing program.A positive laboratory test result does not automatically identify an employee or job applicant as an illegal drug user, nor does a laboratory result of invalid, substituted, or adulterated automatically identify specimen tampering.  An individual with a detailed knowledge of possible alternative medical explanations must interpret drug test results in the context of information obtained from the donor interview.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to fulfill this important function.

For a printable list of MRO responsibilities, click here



Sources: www.samhsa.gov

Categories: DOT Regulations Employee Drug Testing


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