All medical reports for whiplash claims must now be brought under the MedCo system after it formally went live yesterday.
Users of the service – both those providing reports and those commissioning them – have been warned that it can take between five and 10 days for their applications to become authorised users to be processed if they have not done so by now.
Claimants will be given the choice of one “high-volume national” medical reporting organisation (MRO) and six smaller ones, or seven medical experts.
Among the features of a high-volume national MRO are the capacity to process at least 40,000 independent medical reports each year, that it has contractual arrangements with at least 250 individual medical experts, and at registration it has a minimum of five distinct clients, which are not associated organisations with the MRO, with none of them representing more than 40% of its total instructions.
The high-volume MROs will be charged £75,000 a year to be a member of MedCo, with other MROs charged £15,000, and individual experts £150.
Lorraine Rogerson, the independent chair of the MedCo board, said: “We would encourage users to sign up at their earliest opportunity to minimise any internal disruption to their service whilst we process their registration. We are also encouraging users to familiarise themselves with the entry criteria in advance to ensure registrations are approved first time round.”
One of the purposes of the system is to ensure claimant representatives do not have any direct financial links with MROs and medical experts. MedCo has cautioned them to check that their declarations of direct financial links are up-to-date “on a regular basis”.