MedCo is the new system designed to randomise the allocation of medical experts for soft tissue injury claims for low value claims submitted on or after 6th April 2015. Medco has now been live for just over a month.
The purpose of this scheme is to eliminate any financial links between solicitors and providers of medical reports.
But is the system working in practice?
Once registered and logged on the user must enter their case and client details, and from this they receive a randomly generated list of medical agencies which they can use. The user selects one of these options, and then instructs the agency in the ordinary way. The portal will generate a unique MedCo case ID, which must be given to the MRO by the claimant representative and which will be displayed on the medical report. The report must be uploaded to MedCo on an anonymised basis once it has been completed, and the unique MedCo case ID ties it to the search result.
If 'Direct Medical Expert' is selected, then the user goes through the same process, but is given a randomly generated list of individual experts, one of whom must be selected and directly instructed to examine the client.
Does it work?
It remains to be seen whether the technology will perform as expected. There has already been slippage in the system going 'live' and queries in the first couple of days. These teething problems appear to have been overcome and the first few reports should be filtering through shortly.
One interesting side effect could be the decline of the Medical Agency. The current market leaders are marketing their services on the basis that their services will give higher quality and faster reports, with integrated case management systems that integrates with the Medco system.
Some MRO's are suggesting that they can deal with all the administration and funding within the same fee. But surely medical experts will quickly realise that they will retain a larger proportion of the fee if they register as an individual rather than through an MRO? That may depend on whether they are prepared to pay the £150 per annum fee or be prepared to complete accreditation by January 2016.
As with all of this legislation, the honest Claimant has nothing fear from the new requirement.