GAO Recommends States Screen Medical Consultants Reviewing Disability Benefits Claims
The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has recommended that states periodically screen medical consultants who are in charge of reviewing disability benefits claims. In a recent report, the GAO advises that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) needs to ensure that states are up to date on their review of medical consultants. SSA policy requires that states frequently conduct reviews of medical consultants for eligibility and overall competence. However, the report shows that this is not always the case.
Out of the 52 agencies that the GAO questioned, only some were able to confirm that they conducted periodic reviews of medical consultants in order to ensure that individuals previously barred from screening are no longer currently providing services. A total of 14 state agencies confirmed that they were consistent or regular in conducting reviews of medical consultants. Nine state agencies confirmed that they do not provide their consultants re-fresher training.
The majority of states, including Georgia, employed contractors exclusively for the purpose of medical screenings. Ten states relied exclusively on government employees hired as consultants. The remaining states relied on a combination of both government employees as well as independent consultants.
The GAO has recommended to the Social Security Administration that states be incentivized to conduct periodic reviews of medical consultants to ensure competence and medical eligibility. The Social Security Administration has agreed to this recommendation.