On April 17, 2020, SSA amended POMS DI 22510.012 to “clarify” its instructions for permitting the scheduling of video consultative examinations (VCE). According to the POMS, VCEs are permitted in areas with a shortage of qualified psychiatric and psychological CE sources and in situations where claimants cannot access an in-person CE due to incarceration or medical concerns.
Per the amended POMS, VCEs are permitted only for psychiatric examinations or psychological examinations without testing. Other mandatory conditions include the consent of the claimant. Also, the available video conferencing technology must permit the claimant to adequately see, hear, and understand the CE source throughout the VCE. The CE source must confirm the technology permits proper evaluation of claimants, and the Disability Determination Service (DDS) must use secure broadband connections to maintain the claimant’s privacy.
Hmm, wondering how the CEs and the DDS can assure all these items? And wondering about the timing of this “clarification,” especially in light of SSA’s recent announcement that CE examinations are suspended in light of the COVID-19 crisis? See the lead article of this newsletter for more details.