Some 134 ‘shell’ companies were yesterday removed from MedCo in the wake of the new rules announced last month by the Ministry of Justice.
Under the revised qualifying criteria for medical reporting organisations (MROs) unveiled last month, the definition of an MRO now precludes organisations 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 do not have a relationship with.
However, in an announcement yesterday, MedCo emphasised that MROs which have been suspended from the system – but have already been instructed to produce a medical report – would be able to fulfil the instruction and have an ongoing obligation to upload their case data to the system.
Yesterday’s changes also introduced a new search offer that increases the chances of a tier 1 MRO being selected. The results will now throw up a choice of two tier 1 and 10 tier 2 MROs, replacing the previous choice of one tier 1 and six tier 2 companies. No changes have been made to the number of direct medical experts presented.
The MedCo statement said: “The revised qualifying criteria enable MedCo to ensure that MROs registered on the system, or applying to register, do not undermine the system’s random allocation model. MedCo applies the revised qualifying criteria to determine that MROs are properly constituted businesses with satisfactory systems and sufficient resources in place to operate to the minimum required standards.”