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SEMHIE Completes Contract with the Social Security Administration for e-Disability Claim Filing

The South Michigan Health Information Exchange (also known as SEMHIE) has announced that it has officially completed all of the required milestones necessary to provide e-Disability claim filing services to the Social Security Administration. What does this mean to Social Security Disability applicants? If the program works as intended, it may mean shorter claim periods and faster receipt of Social Security Disability benefits.

Under the contract with the SSA, SEMHIE will automate the process of filing for Social Security Disability benefits in the Detroit Metro Region. While the SSA has worked hard to reduce the backlog of claims in that are currently in the system, none of the efforts seem as effective or as promising as this new SEMHIE system. By using the SEMHIE system, the process of applying for disability benefits in the Detroit Metro Region will be reduced from approximately 457 days to about 6 hours.

How can a process that takes the SSA 457 days to complete be reduced to a process of only six hours? By using SEMHIE, the service automatically pulls the health records of the disability applicants and creates a file of medical information that fills in what is known as a Continuity of Care Document. Once that form (also known as the CCD) is sent over to the SSA using the Nationwide Health Information Network, a decision regarding the claim can be made by the SSA.

So when will SEMHIE go into effect? The service has been in full production since June 1rst of this year and has been used to process 5 percent of all claims in the Detroit Metro Region, as required by the final milestone of its contract with the SSA. Hopefully other areas of the nation will soon follow with program of their own.

If the entire nation could implement the technology used by SEMHIE, the world of Social Security Disability applications could change drastically. Rather than waiting months or years for applications to be processed, disability applicants around the country could be approved for benefits in a matter of hours. As of now, the technology is not widespread and is not being used by many areas. As other areas of the nation see the effectiveness of SEMHIE, however, they will hopefully soon follow suit.

While it will take years for the entire country to change over to such technology, if the SSA manages to make it happen it could completely eliminate the SSA's backlog problem, could save the SSA millions of dollars and could make the application and appeal process much less stressful for those who are in need of Social Security Disability benefits.