The number of high-volume national medical reporting organisations (MROs) registered with MedCo is set to fall after some failed the auditing process , it has emerged.
There are currently 14 so-called tier 1 MROs and according to a MedCo spokeswoman, it has advised “a number” of them that they have failed to meet the qualifying criteria and are to be reclassified as tier 2 non-national MROs.
MedCo is now dealing with appeals against its decisions, and the spokeswoman said that “on completion of the appeal processes MedCo will be able to advise on the number of [tier 1] MROs that have been reclassified”.
The recent PI Futures conference heard that in all there were 175 MROs  on the MedCo system.
Meanwhile, Richard Mason, deputy director for civil justice at the Ministry of Justice, has admitted that the government had seen “business practices from the MRO side that we weren’t expecting”.
Speaking at last week’s Bond Solon expert witness conference, he said some MROs registered as tier 1 and then registered again, while others “argued that they had more capacity than they have”.
Mr Mason said the MoJ had estimated that there would only be six MROs in tier 1.
Also last week, MedCo introduced minimum service standards which must be met by medical experts and tier 2 MROs. Tier 1 MROs are already bound by their own minimum standards and service levels as defined by MedCo.
A statement explained: “It has been brought to MedCo’s attention that some authorised users of the MedCo system are not receiving consistent and reasonable standards of service from all registered providers of medical reports.”
Under the standards, experts have to acknowledge their initial instructions within 24 hours, provide an appointment date within 14 days, identify a clinic that is no more than 30 miles from the claimant’s home or work, and deliver the report within 14 days of the appointment or, where relevant, receipt of all the claimant’s medical records. Any further comments or amendments must also be made within 14 days.
Failure to meet these minimum service standards would result in enforcement action and potential suspension, MedCo warned.