HHS Approves MRO Training, Certification Bodies

A Dec. 8 notice from SAMHSA announced Secretary Sebelius has approved two medical review officer certifying entities and two others for the training given as a prerequisite for certification.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has announced the approval by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of four organizations that train and/or certify medical review officers (MROs) to participate in federally required drug testing programs. The approvals took effect Dec. 8, 2010.

HHS in October 2010 revised the portion of its testing guidelines that addresses MROs' role and qualifications, and these approvals support those changes.

Subpart M-Medical Review Officer (MRO), Section 13.1(b), titled "Who may serve as an MRO?" states: "Nationally recognized entities that certify MROs or subspecialty boards for physicians performing a review of Federal employee drug testing results that seek approval by the Secretary must submit their qualifications and a sample examination. Based on an annual objective review of the qualifications and content of the examination, the Secretary shall publish a list in the Federal Register of those entities and boards that have been approved."

The two approved MRO certifying entities offer both MRO training and certification through an exam. They are the American Association of Medical Review Officers (AAMRO) in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and the Medical Review Officer Certification Council (MROCC) in Elk Grove Village, Ill. The approved training organizations are the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) of Elk Grove Village and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) of Chevy Chase, Md.

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