(a) Day-to-day responsibility for the consultative examination process rests with the State agencies that make disability determinations for us.
(b) The State agency will maintain a good working relationship with the medical community in order to recruit sufficient numbers of physicians and other providers of medical services to ensure ready availability of consultative examination providers.
(c) Consistent with Federal and State laws, the State agency administrator will work to achieve appropriate rates of payment for purchased medical services.
(d) Each State agency will be responsible for comprehensive oversight management of its consultative examination program, with special emphasis on key providers.
(e) A key consultative examination provider is a provider that meets at least one of the following conditions:
(1) Any consultative examination provider with an estimated annual billing to the disability programs we administer of at least $150,000; or
(2) Any consultative examination provider with a practice directed primarily towards evaluation examinations rather than the treatment of patients; or
(3) Any consultative examination provider that does not meet the above criteria, but is one of the top five consultative examination providers in the State by dollar volume, as evidenced by prior year data.
(f) State agencies have flexibility in managing their consultative examination programs, but at a minimum will provide:
(1) An ongoing active recruitment program for consultative examination providers;
(2) A process for orientation, training, and review of new consultative examination providers, with respect to SSA's program requirements involving consultative examination report content and not with respect to medical techniques;
(3) Procedures for control of scheduling consultative examinations;
(4) Procedures to ensure that close attention is given to specific evaluation issues involved in each case;
(5) Procedures to ensure that only required examinations and tests are authorized in accordance with the standards set forth in this subpart;
(6) Procedures for providing medical or supervisory approval for the authorization or purchase of consultative examinations and for additional tests or studies requested by consulting medical sources. This includes physician approval for the ordering of any diagnostic test or procedure where the question of significant risk to the claimant/beneficiary might be raised. See § 404.1519m.
(7) Procedures for the ongoing review of consultative examination results to ensure compliance with written guidelines;
(8) Procedures to encourage active participation by physicians in the consultative examination oversight program;
(9) Procedures for handling complaints;
(10) Procedures for evaluating claimant reactions to key providers; and
(11) A program of systematic, onsite reviews of key providers that will include annual onsite reviews of such providers when claimants are present for examinations. This provision does not contemplate that such reviews will involve participation in the actual examinations but, rather, offer an opportunity to talk with claimants at the provider's site before and after the examination and to review the provider's overall operation.
(g) The State agencies will cooperate with us when we conduct monitoring activities in connection with their oversight management of their consultative examination programs.
[56 FR 36959, Aug. 1, 1991, as amended at 65 FR 11877, Mar. 7, 2000; 71 FR 16444, Mar. 31, 2006; 75 FR 32846, June 10, 2010; 76 FR 24806, May 3, 2011]