Recent conversations with reliable neuropsychologists suggests that it is more common these days not to provide raw data to insurance companies. According to my sources neuropsychologists don’t have good opinions of insurers who request raw data so that internal physicians can interpret test results in ways that favor the insurance industry.
Currently, it’s customary for insurers to request raw data (actual test results) from qualified evaluators so that insurance MDs can interpret the data differently. Although neuropsychological tests are generally regarded by the insurance industry as objective evidence, those in the industry know differently.
Neuropsyche tests consist of a battery of tests selected by the evaluator based on the patient’s history, diagnosis and probable outcome. Test scores are obtained from the tests themselves and are then compared to normative values consisting of statistical population scores for those in similar groups. Once scores are obtained, evaluators interpret the test results and render summary reports rrepresenting opinions of what the test scores mean. To say that neuropsychological evaluation represents “objective evidence” is a stretch.
The American Psychological Association forbids the transfer of raw data to those who are unqualified to interpret it. Therefore, even when the raw data is provided to insurers the “chain of evidence” must be maintained in order to protect the integrity of the tests. In addition, neuropsyche evaluation cannot be done more than once in a 12 month period. Typically, a baseline test is completed and if appropriate all future test results will be compared to baseline.
The transfer of raw data to insurance companies interferes with the integrity of the data. It is now known that insurers such as Unum and Prudential request the raw data so that it can be interpreted by internal physicians to support business decisions already made to deny claims. Neuropsychological tests are not objective whether they are performed by claimants’ evaluators or internal insurance physicians.
In my opinion and experience, neuropsychological testing is a garbage-in, garbage-out evaluation. Neuropsyche IMEs performed by insurance evaluators often fail to choose the correct battery of tests to determine disabling levels of cognition, brain fog, chemo brain, and many other dementia type illnesses. Although there are collections of tests out there to evaluate fibromyalgia, most insurance evaluators do not test to prove disability, but to discredit it.
Insurance IMEs always include the MMPI-II or a newer version of it misused to evaluate malingering. Therefore, from the onset, insureds and claimants are “set up” by defense neuropsychological evaluations when the correct battery of tests is not administered.
Due to the insurance industry’s corrupt use of neuropsychological data, many evaluators are choosing not to release actual test data from their offices. “I will never, never let that happen”, one client reported her neuropsychologist saying, “I will never release actual test data to an insurance company. The data is misrepresented and results in further psychological damage to my patients.”
It would appear that the insurance industry may have fouled its own process by using neuropsyche raw data to further its own profitability objectives for so many years. What used to be thought of as “objective evidence” is really the result of differing opinions as to what raw data scores actually mean. In short, raw data evaluated by 5 qualified neuropsychologists could result in 10 opinions.
I’m happy to see neuropsychologists smarting up to insurance abuses of the specialty and thinking twice about giving raw data to insurers. My impression is that some evaluators are savvy to the industry’s abuse of the raw data and are anticipating changes on the way preventing the release to insurers.