Mar 20, 2012

Social Security Subcommittee Hearing

     Here's the witness list for today's hearing before the House Social Security Subcommittee, with my description of one's witness' testimony:

The Honorable Michael J. Astrue
Commissioner, Social Security Administration


Trudy Lyon-Hart
Director, Office of Disability Determination Services, Vermont Agency of Human Services, on behalf of the National Council of Disability Determination Directors

Lisa D. Ekman
Senior Policy Advisor, Health & Disability Advocates on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force

Dan Bertoni
Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office

Leighton Chan, M.D.
Chief, Rehabilitation Medicine Department, National Institutes of Health
  • If I hear one more person involved in rehabilitation talking about "shifting paradigms" I think I'm going to start throwing things. Dr. Chan talked about a project he is working on "to create a real time functional assessment that is rapid, reliable and objective. This project assesses the feasibility of developing Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) instruments that could be considered for integration into the SSA’s disability evaluation processes. CAT methodology, coupled with Item Response Theory (IRT), is used to measure outcomes precisely across the full continuum of human functioning. IRT/CAT represents a simple form of artificial intelligence software requiring a computer for administration." I will not bore my readers with a full description of IRT/CAT except to say that the idea that it has anything to offer to disability determination is laughable from any point of view.
Nicole Maestas, Ph.D.
Senior Economist, RAND Corporation


Anonymous said...

if you read Dr. Chan's testimony, you will find that he is just proposing a tool that will provide standardization to the questions that most ALJ's ask at a disability hearing. This would help ensure more uniform decisions. It doesn't take credibility out of the equation, because claimant's can still lie, exaggerate, misinterpret, etc. However, it would help decision makers by providing a uniform (and informed) process or helping to determine functional ability.

To say that his idea is "laughable" seems knee-jerk, since he indicated that it won't be finished until 2016.

Why are people so scared of change? Oh yeah, it's because the business of representing claimant's is a $1 BILLION (plus) per year industry and any proposed "paradigm shift" in that process scares people.

Anonymous said...

The reason it is laughable is because one cannot take the human element out of assessing or judging disability.

Anonymous said...

I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! I knew this was coming. I've often said if 'they' continued to computerized the disability process 'they' would eliminate the need for Examiners.

Whoever 'they' are . . .