Learn About the MedCo Portal
19 May 2015
MedCo is a portal, designed by the Motor Insurers Bureau as requested by the Ministry of Justice. It is designed to facilitate the sourcing of medical reports in soft tissue injury claims and came into being in April 2015.
Implemented by the Pre-action Protocol for Low-Value Personal Injury Claims for Road Accidents, MedCo dramatically changes the way in which medical experts are instructed on personal injury matters.
Why Was MedCo Implemented?
The implementation of MedCo aims to:
- Address concerns around the independence and quality of medical reports in personal injury cases in order to provide confidence to all parties involved in Personal Injury Claims for Whiplash
- Assist in the prevention of fraudulent claims that can make it difficult for genuine cases to establish credibility and increases insurance premiums for all individuals
- To reduce the costs attributed to whiplash matters
It will no longer be possible for lawyers to source reports from an individual or organisation with which they have a financial link.
What Type of Claims are Covered by MedCo?
Essentially the amendments bring into force two procedural changes:
- For all Claim Notification Forms (CNFs) sent on or after 6th April 2015, the first report in a soft tissue injury (whiplash) claim must be a fixed cost medical report commissioned via the MedCo portal from experts who have been accredited and selected via MedCo
- With effect from 1st January 2016 medical experts must be accredited by MedCo in order to provide the initial fixed cost medical report in a soft tissue injury claim
MedCo will cover soft tissue injury claims (better known as whiplash). A soft tissue injury is defined in the new Paragraph 1.1(16A) of the Protocol:
Soft Tissue Injury Claim means a claim brought by an occupant of a motor vehicle where the significant physical injury caused is a soft tissue injury and includes claims where there is a minor psychological injury secondary in significance to the physical injury.
How is MedCo is Constructed?
MedCo is a not for profit organisation, and its Board Members are comprised of cross-industry representatives and an independent Chair. Medical Experts, MROs and Commissioners of Medical Reports must register via the MedCo website in order to be able to provide or commission medico-legal reports in relation to road accident soft tissue injury claims.
How Will the MedCo Portal Work?
From 6th April 2015 medicolegal experts and MROs will need to be registered with MedCo in order to provide medicolegal reports for RTA soft tissue injury claims brought under the RTA PAP. Medical experts wanting to provide initial reports in soft tissue injury cases must be accredited by MedCo from 1st January 2016.
Claimant representatives and compensators, who will be accessing medical reports, can now submit an application to register at Medco.
MedCo users will be able to search for either individual experts or MROs who can provide the initial medicolegal report for road traffic accident soft tissue injury claims.
When a search is performed, the system will return a choice of randomly generated results, and the user will be able to select from those results that individual experts/MRO to instruct. Users will be given the choice of one high-volume national MRO and six smaller ones, or seven medical experts.
Anticipated Pros and Cons of MedCo
There has been much criticism surrounding the introduction of the MedCo portal. In particular, the fact that the experts are selected randomly from the database has raised concerns about the ability of solicitors from both sides to control the production of the reports. Others feel that the portal should be made available to the litigants themselves.
The great advantage of MedCo is that by ensuring that all medicolegal reports are provided by randomly selected experts, the reports themselves will be above suspicion. This will make it extremely difficult for fraudulent claimants to succeed and bring down the cost of insurance premiums.