MedCo is responding to MoJ concerns that some reporting firms are trying to get around new portal rules
MedCo has promised to take action against medical reporting organisations (MROs) that are trying to get around the new MedCo reporting rules after concerns were raised by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
The MoJ said the behaviours of some MROs, following the launch of the MedCo portal in April, threatened to undermine the government’s policy objectives and public confidence in MedCo.
MROs and individual medical experts are now required to register with the portal in order to receive commissions for work on whiplash claims.
Medical experts are charged an annual fee of £150 to be included in the portal, while MROs must pay an annual registration fee of either £15,000 or £75,000 depending on how they are classified by the MoJ.
One of the policy objectives of the portal is to provide users with a range of seven unconnected MROs to choose from.
But the MoJ said since the launch it had seen examples of high volume MROs registering multiple new smaller MROs to give themselves a higher chance of being selected.
The actions also reduced the chances of MedCo users having a choice of unconnected MROs to choose from and made it less likely for those adhering to the rules to be chosen.
Secondly, the tactics have led to what the MoJ is referring to as the ‘Qualitas model’, where seemingly unconnected medical experts and MROs share instructions.
The MoJ added: “Such actions have the potential to put at risk the chances of existing MROs to compete for selection, and also runs contrary to the policy objective.
“The system was neither designed nor intended to permit this type of behaviour, but the MoJ is clear that MedCo, through the application of the qualifying criteria, its user agreements and ethics policy, has the requisite tools to address it.
“In addition, the issue of MROs overstating their capabilities in order to be in tier 1 will shortly begin to be addressed by MedCo through a programme of detailed audits.”
The MoJ said it would follow developments closely and would conduct a review of how the new system was operating.
In response a spokesperson for MedCo said: “The MedCo board has obtained legal advice on the scope of its authority, within the legal framework set up by the MoJ, to address operational concerns.
“This legal advice, combined with the clarification from the MoJ, has confirmed that MedCo has the authority to monitor and enforce user compliance in line with the data contributor and user agreements which are published on the MedCo website.
“MedCo has commenced user audits and will take action where cases of non-compliance are identified, with the ability to suspend access to MedCo accordingly.”