The Medical Providers...
Your Elected Officials...
Are They Walking The Walk?
Your Medical Providers are likely the single most important factor in determining, to the SSA's satisfaction, whether You, a disabled person with serious medical issues, are so limited that you are disabled from working under SSA rules. (We lawyers probably come second.) So, if your Medical Providers fails to provide your medical records upon your request, to the receiver you indicate, either at all, or in a timely manner (set by law), they can be the actual cause of you losing your case. This is also true if they are inadequate recorders of your complaints, symptoms, etc., as well as if they refuse to answer questions about your condition so there is a fuller written understanding as to your symptoms and limitations. This is akin to them withholding evidence despite the immense damage it will do to your future, your finances, and even your ability to receive health care in the future. It is lazy, and worse, it is forgetting the "do no harm" vow. If an medical provider wants to add a comment or provide further explanation, or better yet, wishes to learn how to better provide for their patients' medical records access needs and the accuracy of same, please contact Stephanie Joy. So much more justice and fairness can be accomplished if we work together!
Your Federal Elected Politicians are another issue. Entirely separate from the above, when the SSA, be it local office or subsequent payment office or other arm of the SSA, gets a "cog" in its wheel on YOUR claim, it can be life-devastating. Cogs include, not recognizing an application or an appeal, paying an awarded claim, otherwise being UNresponsive to inquiry, "losing" your file, etc., sometimes you can call, visit, fax and cry as much as it drives you to, in vein, and the SSA office is like a porch with the light on, but clearly no one is home. When that happens, and enough is enough, our recourse is to contact our Congressperson and ask for help. This happens by going to his/her website, finding the link for "help with a federal agency" or the like, and emailing them the concise issue and fact. (Concise, remember.) By and large, I have found MY reps to be pretty responsive and in ordinately helpful. Some took longer than others to resolve the issue, particularly lately, but that may just be because perhaps even the federal agency of the SSA has been a bit rogue, lately, having no respect for the Congress that created it.
PURPPOSE: So I know what medical providers to support, and who to avoid for myself, my family and to NOT recommend to others, I put my personal notes on occurences here. Additionally, I note what Politicians are in touch and performing their duties, so I know for myself who I will vote for and those I will not. I am putting together an ongoing list of my experiences within my SSA practice, with regard to my clients' needs. This ONLY concerns SSA matters and the behaviors of the politicians and medical providers with regard to same - it has no other political opinion bearing whatsoever. You are free to consider or not consider any of the information below.
Medical Providers: (Note that all requests include a HIPAA compliant release and request from the patient. Poor performers are listed first, but I do want to include the Super Stars, and will be adding.)
Latest addition: Ocean Mental Health in Brick, NJ. This is not a poor opinion of any one mental health professional, but on the facilities "company policy" to refuse to provide psychotherapy records. Unfortunately, like others who choose to do the same, I believe they are "doing harm" because the result can be that their patient/client cannot prove the details of his or her impairment and how it severely limits full tilme functioning - ergo, the risk of losing their insurance benefits claim is exponentially multiplied. Wall of shame, for this provider. I would not encourage a person needing MH treating to choose this place if at all possible, IF they have an insurance, SSDIB or SSI claim, because this facility with conceal their records (legally permitted),thereby increasing greatly chance of losing a claim.
RedCo, Stroudsburg, PA - 2016/2017 - Mental Health Provider (Negative rating)
Failed to provide records timely; after numeous requests; eventually provided vague statements of encounter confirmation of psychiatrist, that provides no details regarding patient's stated day to day issues; refused entirely to provide psychotherapy note of counselor/therapist despite the RIGHT to provide same up on patient request. No valid reason provided, simpy stated, against policy of company. [GG]
Politicians: (generally Positive Ratings, I'll go with an A-, which to me is terrific.)
Paul Kanjorski (SS team member, "Becky") - Multiple requests over the years when he was in office, every single request was expeditiously attended to AND resolved. I could not have asked for better attention. Circa pre 2010?
Lou Barletta: 2011+, Fulfilled request in a timely manner; did not have opportunity to work with his team for long, due to "redistricting" where Tom Marino became the new Congressperson.
Tom Marino: Addition: 2 assists in early 2017. Thank you to this office!
His team did assist in at least 2 requests in 2015, as well, resolving both with a satisafactory outcome. The resolution took many many months, however, and the delay it took for the federal agency to properly react and correct, caused great financial hardship. I have no reason to think this delay was caused by the political office or team though - his team member (also named Tom), was communicative with me, returned calls and email despite his busy schedule - I suspect it is more reflective of the agency's lack of respect for Congressional Inquiry, lack of accountability for job performance over recent years, lack of concern for individuals and those that serve them (attorneys), and lack of fear of job termination if they fail to perform, and, possibly, lack of due diligence in hiring qualified staff.
Bill Pascrell, Jr: UPDATE: This matter properl resolved with help of Pascrell's office shortly after last reporting...
Currently occurring, NJ Congessperson, not my own, on behalf of a NJ client. Money accidentally deposited by SSA into wrong beneficiary's account (PNC Bank) (no evidence of SSA error, possibly this office's error, but not clear either way and easily remedied), quickly returned to PNC in full. SSA and PNC failed to expeditiously get the moneys back to SSA and immediately INTO proper beneficiary's account. Occurred in 10/2016 (about $24k of owed moneys) and still NOT returned to beneficiary as of 1/2017. F for PNC, F for SSA. Early Jan. (at latest), Congressman Pascrell contact via his website email, at client's request. Client has yet to hear back from Mr. Pascrell; Attorney name and contact information included in the event Mr. Pascrell's office needed more information after getting release from constituent. Not yet contacted as of 1/12/2017. With previous Congressperson's immediately return contact was made, to ensure proper release provided by constituent, etc. Jury is still out on this one, but if it goes much longer, his rating will plummet :(