Don't You All Wish You Were Me?
"Thou shalt go and fulfill thy requirements to become an MRO!!!" came the voice from on high.
"You want me to become a Medical Review Officer?" I queried.
"Yea, verily. Yesterday would not be too soon." the Powers That Be thundered.
In this new career plot to make-over this mild mannered internist into an occupational medicine doc, this is the latest step.
Ah. And what the hell is a MRO?
Very good question, mon ami.
The MRO is the physician (although in Iowa, I believe, it can be a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant and in Maine and Kentucky they've taken to using moderately trained monkeys) who reviews the results of work-related drug screens, investigates any mitigating circumstances that might make a positive screen due to something other than what you scored from that guy down on the corner, and then notifies the boss/potential boss/never-to-be-future-boss of the results.
Sort of makes me a toady for The Man.
I've given it some mulling over the past few months between being given the edict and now, a few days away from hopping a plane to go take the hopefully enlightening class (because the 2 inch thick syllabus was beyond confusing). I am torn in my feelings about drug testing. Is it a necessary safety measure? Is it a horrific violation of our civil liberties?
I've come to a few personal conclusions.
First, that drug testing will not remove drug use from the work place, but may decrease it. Second, that there are, for me, some jobs that should never be undertaken with so much as a pediatric cold pill in the system, let alone other judgement altering substances. Jobs like driving a 100 ton truck down the freeway. Jobs like operating a train or a plane. Jobs like practicing medicine.
Do I have a problem with someone in a non-life-or-death occupation using something recreationally on the weekend?
As this is a public blog, I don't think I should answer that.
Does the employer of someone who does not have a life-or-death job have the right to test their employees for drug use?
I have a bit more trouble with this. I guess, as drug testing is so very ubiquitous now days, I'd wonder if someone who used recreationally might be in need of some help if they couldn't abstain while job hunting, in the almost certain event that a pre-employment drug test was required. (Either that or they had such poor judgement that, as an employer, I'd question their ability to staple papers or use a copy machine without doing damage to themselves or others.) Random drug testing of employees without suspect behavior in non-life-or-death jobs? I think that's a different issue as well.
Finally, I've become comfortable with my role in this, as there ARE extenuating circumstances for positive tests and, if it were me, I'd want someone with compassion and an open mind talking to me to see if there were any other valid explanation for my positive test, rather than dismissing me as a druggie out of hand.
There. Rationalization complete. So much better for that.
And where am I off to? Whither the wild blue in my yonder? Well, that would be South. I'm heading South to New Orleans. I'm a bit nervous as I've arranged the whole damn thing on my own and have this feeling that I've forgotten something, or gotten the dates wrong or what-have-you and I'll end up arriving on the last day of class, in my underwear with (inexplicably) spiky green hair and everyone will stare and laugh as they hand me a 100 page test that I have to finish in 30 minutes.
Oh! and look! I have no #2 pencil.
I have that kind of 'something's wrong' feeling.
I've also not flown since all the new restrictions on luggage (What? I can't bring anything with paper on a plane? But the 2" thick syllabus! I need it! Oh. What if someone lights my syllabus on fire as an attack? Ok.) and the new check-in systems. I am someone who is comfortable with what I know and can control (gosh, what a shocker). I am trying to treat this as some great adventure, but really, it's a pain in the ass, as it's 2 days of travel to sit for 2 days in a hotel conference room and study for 3 nights in a hotel room.
Did I mention the 400 page textbook that must be ingested, digested and regurgitated, along with the 2" syllabus on Monday, when I take the test?
Did I mention the primal fear that I not pass this employer decreed hoop and have to tell them that, gosh, you just spent $2000 on me for squat.
No, no. Not good. So, despite having always wanted to see New Orleans, ever since reading Interview With a Vampire, and seeing The Big Easy, if you want to know, I will not be partaking in this fascinating city outside of a walk after class and before dinner each evening.
So that you can sing along with me, when I head off in 2 days, I leave you with the following excerpt from the reading:
"As a BAT or STT, or employer, you must cancel and alcohol test if any of the following problems occur, unless they are corrected. These are "correctable flaws." These problems are:
(a) The BAT or STT does not sigh the ATF (see 40.247 (a) (1) and 40 255 (a) (1).
(b) The BAT or STT fails to note on the "Remarks" line of the ATF that the employee has not signed the ATF after the result is obtained (see 40.255 (a) (2)).
(c) The BAT or STT uses a non-DOT form for the test (see 40.225 (a)).
--from the Dept of Transportation CFR part 40
And so on, and so on, and so mind-stunningly, horrifyingly, brain-curdling, sobbingly on.
Suddenly I question if my overwhelming desire to avoid all on-call responsibilities is really worth this.