Whiplash Reforms - The Opt-In process for DMEs and MROs
Published: 10 March 2021
Further to our update on 05 March 2021 this communication is intended to provide Direct Medical Experts (DMEs) and Medical Reporting Organisations (MROs) with all the information required in advance of the opening of registrations to opt-in for unrepresented work via Official Injury Claims.
Registrations for Opt-In applications will open no earlier than Wednesday 17 March 2021.
Opting-in to accept and process medical reports for unrepresented claimants via Official Injury Claims is optional. The reforms only apply to accidents on or after 31 May 2021, meaning the existing process for making claims will continue for accidents prior to this date.
In addition, even after the 31 May 2021 some claimants may still chose to be represented however, they will need to ensure they have appropriate funding in place to pay legal fees as they will not be able to recover these costs if the claim is worth less than £5,000. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have estimated that 50% of claimants using the Official Injury Claims Portal will be unrepresented.
How will Official Injury Claims work with MedCo?
To get a feel for how the unrepresented process will work and what is expected a high-level process flow diagram has been produced by MedCo. Click here to view the document.
Who can submit an application to Opt-In?
If you are an accredited DME or an operational MRO you may apply to Opt-In to provide medical reporting services to unrepresented claimants via Official Injury Claims.
All DME expert types are able to consider opting-in to provide services for whiplash injury claims to unrepresented claimants. However, as per the MoJ rules, only GP and A&E experts will be able to provide a service to unrepresented claimants for non-whiplash injury claims or mixed injury claims involving both whiplash and non-whiplash injuries.
It is also worth noting that it is expected that GP and A&E experts will provide services for both whiplash and non-whiplash claims. It is not possible to only Opt-In for whiplash claims.
Important: Any DME or MRO that is currently suspended or is the subject of a suspended suspension will not be eligible to apply until the enforcement action is lifted.
How to Opt-In
In order to Opt-In, DMEs and MROs must meet the supplemental QC and Rules published by the MoJ and must pass an audit and pay the appropriate fee. An Audit guide for those intending to apply is now available. Details of audit fees can be found in the latest Charging Policy. Please note; from 6 APRIL 2023 the new Charging Policy will apply.
To submit an application, you will need to follow the steps in the published guide How to Opt-In to provide medical reports for unrepresented claimants.
- It is recommended that you do not submit an application to Opt-In until you are ready and prepared for an audit.
- Audits will be offered from as early as week commencing 22 March on a first come first served basis. We will provide 7 days notice of an audit.
- If you are not able to accommodate your allocated audit appointment you will join the back of the queue and your audit will be re-scheduled.
- Re-audits as a result of a failed application will not be re-scheduled for a minimum period of 3 months from the outcome decision date.
- Applications to Opt-In must be made online via your MedCo account.
- The online application process will open no earlier than Wednesday 17 March 2021
We will write again to confirm the date and time for the opening of online applications.
We hope this information is of help to you and should you have any enquiries please contact us at [email protected]