MedCo has identified and suspended a further 21 ‘shell’ companies from the MedCo system, taking the total purged since the revised qualifying criteria were put in place last October to 155.
The Ministry of Justice regulations changed the definition of a medical reporting organisation (MROs) so that it precluded companies set up purely as a shell “to gather instructions and forward them on to a related organisation”.
Many of the high-volume national MROs (ie, tier 1) set up tier 2 shell companies to increase their chances of appearing in the random selection of MROs put to claimants and their solicitors.
They argued that this was to allow solicitors to choose MROs with which they have existing relationships, rather than being forced to work with companies they did not know.
The 21 shell companies will no longer appear in the MedCo search offer, although they will be permitted to complete existing instructions.
The first wave of 134 shell companies were removed shortly after the criteria came into force.
The revised search offer that was also introduced last October marginally increased the chances of a tier 1 MRO being selected. The results produce a choice of two tier 1 and 10 tier 2 MROs, replacing the previous choice of one tier 1 and six tier 2 companies.
MedCo has been active in its enforcement activity, announcing last week that it had suspended 23 MROs and 14 direct medical experts for failing to upload medical case data to its system.
It emerged last month that in the year to 31 March 2017, MedCo sent 337 warning letters, suspended 235 users – MROs, DMEs and ‘authorised users’, mainly claimant lawyers – over their conduct, although 84 of them were reinstated after modifying their behaviour.