News Releases

New MRO safety reporting rules

  • Jan 31, 2018

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced a new rule that changes how medical review officers (MRO) report safety-sensitive concerns related to medication use. The rule change became effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Under the new regulations, MROs must now wait five days to report any safety-sensitive concerns on negative drug test results. This change was made so the donors’ prescribing doctors can contact the MROs to coordinate changing to a medication that doesn’t post a safety concern. Prior to the rule change, MROs would report negative drug test results and any safety-sensitive concerns at the same time to employers.

What is a safety-sensitive concern?

If a drug is found in the drug sample, but the donor provides a legal prescription explaining why the drug is present, MROs then must state this is a negative test. MROs use their medical judgement and advise employers that although the result is negative, the donor could be at risk for an injury or accident under the influence of that drug.  This is considered a safety-sensitive concern.

What this means for employers

Here’s an example for you. An employer receives a negative drug test result after an accident, so the employee is returned back to a safety-sensitive job such as driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Five days later, the employer received another letter stating the MRO is concerned the employee may not be safe to drive a CMV due to certain medication use. Then the employee would likely be removed from the job and sent for a fitness for duty examination. However, during those five days, the potential for another accident exists.

What is Sanford OccMed’s response?  

We will abide by the established rules. For safety purposes and to avoid confusion for our employers, our MROs will report the drug test result and safety-sensitive concern five days after the verification process. Please note this rule applies to DOT–regulated testing only.

If you have any questions, call Sanford OccMed at (888) 600-2378.