MedCo has started to show its teeth, suspending medical reporting organisations (MROs) for failing to provide proof of the required financial bond, and warning law firms for breaches of its user agreement, Legal Futures can reveal.
Meanwhile, decisions on whether registered MROs meet the criteria to be in either tier 1 – for large, national operators – or tier 2 for smaller businesses are to be made this month.
MedCo requires that tier 2 MROs have to provide a financial bond or other financial instrument of at least £20,000 to demonstrate that the MRO has sufficient funds available to remunerate medical experts from whom it has commissioned medical reports in the case of its failure. Tier 1 MROs need a bond of £100,000.
A MedCo spokeswoman said that 21 tier 2 MROs were suspended for not providing the bond, but the majority have since done so and been reinstated onto the system.
Further, three tier 2 MROs, three firms of solicitors and one medical expert were issued with warning notices that they were in breach of the MedCo user agreement. All but one of the MROs have agreed to change its behaviour accordingly, and that business has now been thrown out of the MedCo system.
On audits, the spokesman said: “MedCo has physically audited all tier 1 MROs and the audit committee is drafting the resulting reports and recommendations for the MedCo board. All operational tier 2s have also been requested to provide evidence that they meet six key criteria.”
The committee’s recommendations will be presented to the MedCo board this month for consideration.
The registration of multiple tier 2 MROs by some of the tier 1 providers – which they say they have done to redress the imbalance in the system against them – is the subject of particular controversy.
In July, the Ministry of Justice brought forward its planned six-month review of MedCo in response to the problems that have been encountered so far, having told MedCo that multiple tier 2 MROs should not be allowed.