Monday, August 31, 2015

What is the Office of Quality Performance (OQP)? Is it Doing its Job?

The Office of Quality Performance is a division of the Social Security Administration that is in charge of randomly selecting cases for review.  The purpose of their intervention on a case is to ensure that decisions made at the local level are consistent with the regulations.  Bear in mind that at the initial application stage, cases are reviewed by DDS examiners who are not employed by the Social Security Administration.
Obviously, one of the purposes of this office is to prevent any particular state or region from issuing decisions that are too generous to claimants.  According to the SSA, one in every 100 cases are pulled from DDS for review.  If your case is selected for review, your case is likely to take longer to be decided.  
In my involvement in cases that have been reviewed by OQP, I usually find that the quality review process rarely works in an effective way.  All that QR does is to create an unnecessary layer of adjudication.  OQP employees aren't any smarter DDS workers.  OQP conducts yet another de-humanized paper review of a disabled person's claim, prolonging the time that it takes the agency to decide a case.  
In light of all the accusations of corruption in Kentucky, West Virginia, New York and Puerto Rico, I wonder where OQP has been.  The SSA and the critics of the disability program act as if these cases of corruption happened without their knowledge.  Really?  Any person reviewing 1 out of 100 cases at DDS in Kentucky or Puerto Rico could have easily spotted a pattern of deception by certain representatives.
OQP has an important mission.  More should be done to improve the quality of its work.  Its role shouldn't be to slow down the process and create a further layer of review.  Instead, the Office should concentrate in ensuring that the disability programs are fairly administered to protect the system from corruption and to safeguard the rights of the disabled.