EMRs May Help Speed up and Streamline Disability Claims Processing

by | Published on Mar 23, 2015 | EHR/EMR

The delay in reviewing social security disability cases is a great concern for people waiting to obtain their disability compensation so that they can pay for basic needs. However, this recent news seems to herald a positive turn of events. Mercy Health, a Catholic Health Ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky has implemented the revolutionary Health IT program of the SSA (Social Security Administration). Now, patients in Ohio and Kentucky served by Mercy Health can hope to have their disability applications reviewed much faster. The new program utilizes the potency of EMR to settle disability claims more quickly. Electronic medical records facilitate easier medical record review, and improves employee productivity apart from helping to avoid the need to scan, fax and mail paper records.

Reasons for the Delay in Processing Applications

  • Social Security has to obtain the complete health record of an applicant to determine disability. With paper records, providers may require weeks to submit the required documents.
  • More than fourteen million Americans receive some form of SSD (Social Security Disability) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability benefits from the SSA. Annually, the SSA processes around 3 million disability claims, which requires them to submit more than 15 million requests to providers to release medical records. Processing paper records takes a long time and leads to delay.
  • Lawyers point to two trends that cause the delay. One is the political pushback that results from concern about possible abuse, and the other is the huge volume of disability applications that have to be processed.
  • When an applicant first submits a disability application, the process takes about 3 months. An appeal may take more than a year.

How EMRs Are Expected to Speed Disability Claim Processing

With EMRs, healthcare providers can make the treatment records available very quickly; this in turn speeds up the eligibility determination process and enables faster access to benefits. Social Security could obtain the records of 512 Mercy Health patients throughout Ohio and Kentucky within just 10 days of implementing the new system. Another advantage that healthcare systems like Mercy Health have is that they can reduce the amount of uncompensated care it provides patients. They can focus more on patient care, and enjoy savings in terms of stationery, printing and postage expenses. Mercy Health has connected its electronic health system to a data exchange network that connects providers and government agencies throughout the country.

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