What, you may be wondering, is the Social Security Administration doing now to cut down on the massive disability claims backlog? They’re trying a new way to get doctors to send patients medical records in electronic form – payment.
The SSA now plans to pay doctors $15 each time they send a disability claims applicant’s records electronically. The administration believes that this change will significantly cut down on the claims backlog.
Delays are a serious concern to SSA, since it can take anywhere from several months to several years for claimants to find out whether or not their claim or their appeal has been approved. This creates an enormous hardship for some claimants, forcing them to look elsewhere for money to survive day-to-day until they get disability benefits.
SSA expects that the electronic transmission of medical records could save an enormous amount of time. Now, records that used to take months to receive and process can be acquired within minutes.
Of course, it remains to be seen if this effort to pay doctors to ‘do the right thing’ will actually take off. Not all medical offices are set up to transmit patient records electronically, which could slow things down. Hopefully the lure of receiving $15 per patient will be enough to induce doctors to take this important step.