I have written dozens of times about the problems posed when Social Security schedules a Consultative Examination (“CE”) with a non-treating doctor. I had a hearing yesterday in Queens that illustrates one such problem.
I was representing a 37 year old former EMT who sustained serious back and knee injuries after a series of motor vehicle accidents. The medical records and the reports of the claimant’s neurologist repeatedly demonstrated that the claimant met the listing criteria for a spinal disorder. However, the medical expert at the hearing questioned whether the listing was met because the report of the one time CE by a non-treating doctor contained some contrary findings.
Aberrant findings from a single CE report, from a doctor who is not a neurologist, should not suffice to contradict the longitudinal and consistent medical findings of a neurologist regarding a neurological disorder. Furthermore, the claimant was prepared to testify that the CE findings were fraudulent in that the CE did not actually test what the report claimed was tested.
Fortunately, the medical expert testified that while the claimant did not meet the spinal disorder listing, he equaled it in severity. However, another medical expert or Administrative Law Judge may have concluded that the CE findings prevented the listing from being met or equaled. According to the regulations, there was no valid ground for the claimant to have been asked to have a CE with a non-treating doctor. Had the claimant refused to attend the CE, there would have been no evidence to contradict the claimant’s meeting a listing, and he could have avoided the need and wait for a hearing.