Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SSA, Kaiser Permanente Team Up to Fast-track Disability Benefit Claims Decisions

On Monday, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced in its official press release page that it had finally teamed up with Kaiser Permanente for the purpose of speeding up the decision-making process in disability benefits claims.

Kaiser Permanente will begin transmitting to the agency complete medical records for its patients via electronic means upon proper consent from concerned patients.

Kaiser Permanente is the largest managed health care organization in U.S. In fact, the organization, which was founded in 1945 by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and physician Sydney Garfield, is now made up of three different groups of entities – The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and its regional subsidiaries, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and the autonomous regional Permanente Medical Groups. At present, Kaiser Permanente has 8.9 million health plan members, approximately 14,600 physicians, 435 medical facilities, and some 431,000 medical offices.

Each year, the SSA requests approximately 70,000 files from Kaiser Permanente. Therefore, the new system will save a lot of time, effort, and funds for both parties. It will likewise allow the agency to make faster and more accurate decisions.

The recent agreement indicates the agency’s first leap into using health care information technology on a large-scale basis. Although the agency had in fact entered into similar agreements with some smaller health care providers to electronically exchange medical records over the National Health Information Network over the past few years, it was its first time to team up with a large healthcare provider.

According to the agency’s commissioner, Michael J. Astrue, he is confident that people will see the new system as the most significant improvement in the agency’s disability benefit claims decision-making process since the program began way back in 1956. Commissioner Astrue added that in today’s modern technology, it makes no sense for people to chase down records on black and white on an individual basis.

Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente’s Senior Vice President and Business Information Officer Lisa Caplan said that the organization is dedicated to supporting safe and secure health information exchange for its members, and that its partnership with the SSA will enable its patients to receive quicker disability decisions on their benefit claims.

Apparently, the SSA and Kaiser Permanente are both delighted to work together on such innovative move to provide quicker and more efficient results for the disability claims, the two parties claimed in their statements.

A Los Angeles SSI lawyer agrees that the new system will indeed fast track a disability benefits claim and other social security income (SSI) claims, aside from providing comfort and ease to claimants.