Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Doctors who perform examinations for Social Security Disability and SSI

Here's a press release on the website for the Idaho Commerce and Labor Department (link below). The Idaho DDS (disability determination services) is recruiting independent physicians to perform medical examinations for social security disability and SSI claims.

If you are not aware, these exams are are known as CEs, which stands for consultative examinations.

Why would the Idaho DDS have to recruit doctors to perform these exams? For the same reason every DDS in the country has to continually recruit doctors to perform these examinations. And the answer is (long drumroll)-----doctors are continually dropping out of the program.

The truth of the matter is, CE exams are typically performed by doctors who either have a new practice or operate a practice that needs more patients. And this goes a long way toward explaining the many complaints that you'll find all over the internet about these kinds of exams and about the doctors who perform them.

Do doctors who perform medical examinations for social security really want to do this? Not judging by the treatment that most claimants report they receive. Typically, CE doctors see a claimant for about 5-10 minutes. Often, they barely acknowledge the claimant. And sometimes they are rude and condescending.

Very often, doctors who conduct consultative exams for disability cases will cease doing so as soon as their level of regular patient traffic increases.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Specialties routinely include cardiology, internal medicine, general practice, orthopedics, neurology, pediatrics, rheumatology, dermatology, ophthalmology, optometry, psychology and psychiatry.

Does the wording of this excerpt mean that if you are required to go to a CE, you'll be sent to a doctor who specializes in your condition? Unless your condition is psychological or psychiatric, not even likely. What this excerpt really means is that a doctor's area of specialization is practically irrelevant, i.e. they'll (DDS and the social security administration) take any doctor they can get their hands on. In fact, claimants will sometimes report that they have been sent to a gynecologist when their primary impairment involves lower back pain.

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Apply for disability - how do you
Apply for disability - what happens after disability
Social Security Disability Benefits