At the PI Futures Conference last week, MedCo Chair, Martin Heskins, released information on MRO activity, which has been influenced by the outcomes of Medical Reporting Organisations (MRO) audits, MRO suspensions and ‘shell company’ presence.[i]
At the end of 2017, 120 MROs were registered on the MedCo system. Mr Heskins revealed that this number, over the past 8 months, has decreased by 35%. Accordingly, as of August 2018, there were 78 MROs on the system. In respect of Tier 1 MRO fluctuation in the same time period, these decreased by 30%, from 10 to 7.
Accredited medical experts also fell by 5%, from 739 to 705. Mr Heskins reported instances of experts claiming to have carried out well over 100 examinations in one day in multiple geographical locations. These led to immediate suspensions.
In 2016, 46 warning letters were sent to MROs, accredited experts and authorised users (claimant lawyers). Since then, 407 warning letters have been sent.
Unsurprisingly, more warning letters has led to a rise in the number of suspensions. Indeed, the number of suspensions increased from 197, in 2016, to 277, in 2017. That being said, more MROs were reinstated in 2017 (98) than in 2016 (42).
Another factor which has led to increased suspensions is the number of audits. These almost doubled from 2016 (24) to 2017 (44). During the auditing process, some MROs failed to prepare, some lacked knowledge of ‘qualifying criteria’ and some were ‘obstructive and/or abusive’ to auditors, even refusing ‘entry to premises’.
MedCo will be amending its agreements with MROs so that refusal of entry results in immediate suspension.
[i] ‘Number of MROs shrinks by a third as MedCo clamps down’ (25 September 2018 Litigation Futures) <https://www.litigationfutures.com/news/number-of-mros-shrinks-by-a-third-as-medco-clamps-down> accessed 26 September 2018.