Thanks for following all that. This case needs some explanation leading up to the questions to get context. Last time I wrote a long question it disappeared. I'm glad you are an MRO.
I was dropped by my primary physician-neurologist when I obeyed my employer DER and did not get the drug test my neurologist-pain management doctor ordered me to get as part of the MRO investigation into why I tested positive for morphine. The MRO who got my drug test result was in NY thus he asked my neurologist to examine me for drug abuse. I found out later in my own investigation that my HR Director terminated me because he thought I should have gone directly into inpatient rehab after testing positive for prescription morphine. My union rep told me they would fire me unless I checked into rehab.
I told the union rep I did not need rehab since that was the first morphine I had since before my surgery because I ran out of tramadol and the last of the prescription from a few months before. I did not really care for the morphine, could not take vicodin as I was allergic to acetaminophen, and preferred tramadol as a pain med, which was did not show up on the DOT pre-employment test.
Per DOT regulations and our union contract I knew I could not be legally terminated because I had given my manager "voluntary admission" of prior controlled substance use, yet I was fired anyway by an HR director who did not know DOT regulations or did not care and thought I had refused rehab.
I never refused rehab as I knew only an SAP could prescribe rehab, not a union rep or HR director and I had yet to have my appointment with the SAP.
I called the MRO in NY and explained what happened to my primary care doctor -- that he dropped me because I obeyed my employer DER and did not get re-tested for opioids as my doctor ordered, thus the MRO would not be hearing from that doctor.
The MRO was not sympathetic but she instructed me to send her a letter of explanation along with my prescription for morphine. I offered to send all my pharmacy records but she said they were only concerned about the drug that tested positive on the DOT pre-employment test -- morphine. I asked how long it would take to process my appeal and she said they were extremely busy and it could take 6 weeks to many months.
In the mean time I met for the first time with the SAP on 3-16-11 after being terminated from my employer of 23 years on 3-10-11. The SAP was provided by my union per our contract and after the hour-long meeting over breakfast at a restaurant she sentenced me to 6 months residential inpatient detox rehab, despite the fact that it had been a month since I had stopped all opioid use.
I was amazed and confused by this assessment since I had told the SAP I had stopped all pain meds and also had no more medical insurance since I was fired. I was also expecting a reversal of the positive to negative from the MRO when they got my letter and prescription. In the mean time I was awaiting another workers comp surgery on my hand while undergoing outpatient physical therapy after the last surgery on 1-26-11.
The SAP allowed me to postpone reporting to residential inpatient detox rehab because I was undergoing treatment for my hand through workers comp.
The SAP behavior made no sense to me made but any time I suggested such to her she got bothered and told me to take it up with my union rep. "Why?" I asked. The union rep had nothing to do with the SAP process, except that I had filed a grievance with the union over my unlawful termination. A Board of Adjustment meeting was scheduled for 8-16-11 to deal with the grievance.
In the mean time the MRO took 6 weeks to reverse the positive drug test result that started this whole Kafkavity of justice. My employer's DER was electronically transmitted the negative for morphine on 5-9-11. Per DOT I should have been put back to work immediately upon receipt of the MRO ruling, after another pre-employment drug test of course. I would have passed the test since it had been since 2-14-11 that I had stopped all opioids.
The problem was that my employer had neglected to tell me about the MRO reversal, nor did they inform the SAP.
In the interim, I called about a dozen rehab centers to see about hypothetically checking in per the SAP holding my job hostage. I was told the going rate for inpatient detox averaged about $1000 per day. I checked with the Salvation Army about their "free" rehab program but was rejected because of my hands being unable to work for the Salvation Army. Imagine my chagrin from being accepted for induction by the US army but rejected by the Salvation Army as unfit for rehab duty.
To add insult to injury the rehab centers said they would not put me through inpatient detox if I had been off all drugs for 3 months as there was no drug to detox. I said it was the only way my SAP would release me to go back to work, that I needed inpatient detox for 6 months. They suggested it might be insurance fraud if I said I was addicted when I was not, just to get my job back. I said I had been terminated by my employer and thus lost all medical, dental, and vision coverage. I said I could undersell my home for $200,000 and use it for inpatient rehab. They suggested I consider "outpatient" rehab since I was not on any drugs.
Here's a question or few finally:
Was I unlawfully terminated? Is the SAP in denial about my drug use or abuse? When an MRO reverses a positive result to negative, is it over? Does negative mean negative? Should I not be done with SAP? Can the SAP or my employer legally refuse me a copy of my file?