When a drug test result comes back as a confirmed “Positive” from the lab, an employer must consider how to handle cases where allowable prescription medications have caused the positive result

Employers may not violate HIPAA laws where an employee’s medical history can and should be protected. This is where the MRO or medical review officer comes into play.

Given the multiple points in the drug testing process where errors can occur, and given the potentially devastating consequences to the individual tested, to the employer sponsoring the test, it is clear that the Medical Review Officer must be a licensed physician. While other health care disciplines may have the training to perform certain components of the MRO function, only a licensed physician has the skill, training, state-sanctioned authority, and risk management aptitude appropriate for the complete spectrum of MRO activity.

What is a Medical Review Officer (MRO)? a licensed physician who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer’s drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results.

In these cases, our Medical Review Officer (MRO) can contact your employee, receive copies of their valid prescription and help determine if the employee is safe to return to work. Once the valid prescriptions are verified, a “Negative” drug test result will be sent to the employer. Failing to supply a prescription will result in a “Positive” drug test result.

Please note that authorizations for marijuana use do NOT qualify as a valid prescription and will not change a positive drug test result.

If you have any questions about specific situations or would like more information, our Medical Review Officer is happy to answer your questions and is available for a conversation.  Contact your nearest Conspire! location to find out more.


Leave a Reply