Feb 20, 2015

Class Action On Consultative Examinations In Bay Area

     From a press release:
A class action lawsuit was filed today in federal district court in San Francisco against the Social Security Administration (SSA) by three plaintiffs who were deprived of disability benefits because of SSA’s continued reliance on medical reports from a doctor who has been disqualified. The grossly deficient reports were based on cursory examinations (often lasting ten minutes or less), referenced tests that were never performed, and were inconsistent with plaintiffs’ medical records. On the basis of these faulty reports, plaintiffs who were no longer able to work were denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, essential to their well-being....
 Kevin Hart is a San Mateo County resident who was sent to Dr. Frank Chen for a medical exam to determine if he was still disabled and thus still eligible for his SSI and SSDI benefits. Dr. Chen, didn’t review Hart’s medical records, didn’t ask him about his condition, repeatedly interrupted Hart when he attempted to explain his diagnosis, and only spent approximately 10 minutes on a perfunctory examination. Dr. Chen’s report referenced tests he didn’t perform and failed to mention Mr. Hart’s primary disability, a leg and foot injury he sustained after being hit by a car— even though Hart needed a cane to stand during his exam. After Dr. Chen’s evaluation, Hart was notified that his benefits were being terminated because he was no longer disabled. He was never notified that Dr. Chen had been disqualified, even though Dr. Chen’s report was an important reason for the decision in his case. ...
The lawsuit seeks to require the SSA to reopen all prior determinations that terminated or denied SSI and/or SSDI benefits and that relied on a consultative examination report from Dr. Chen, and offer Plaintiffs an opportunity for a new exam from a qualified medical professional. ...
Plaintiffs are represented by Morrison & Foerster LLP, the National Senior Citizens Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.

5 comments:

Max Abilify said...

We had one of these in this area. A psychiatrist who spent about five minutes with a claimant. Hundreds of CE's. His wife, the receptionist -- with no medical training or degrees, had the claimant fill out an intake form. The two or three page CE report was based almost solely on the intake form, plus a certain amount of fiction. I contacted our local DDS after hearing the same report from numerous claimants. The DDS sent someone in with a claimant for a CE, spotted the same thing, and they terminated the CE contract with the doctor, and told him I blew the whistle on him.

Dan Smith said...

Wow, I love that story, Max. Kudos to you. Too many people see something that's wrong and do absolutely nothing about it. It's good (and surprising) to see that at least one DDS cares about the quality of info it's getting from CE'.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the information:

http://www.nsclc.org/index.php/hart-v-colvin/

Anonymous said...

Can someone summarize the actual claims? Unless the ALJ gave controlling weight, I can't see how this is a winner.

Should SSA sue claimant's who submit statements from friends saying they are completely disabled, despite the fact that the friend is not a medical or vocational expert?

Anonymous said...

Why does it matter if it was given controlling weight? If it's given any weight, would you want each person to be required to bring suit individually and have the federal court determine if substantial evidence still supported the decision? Only situation I would think could be excluded, and I'm not sure on this one, is if the ALJ specifically assigns no weight.

Justin