The Medical Expert’s (ME) Role in the Opening Statement of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
There’s a specific set of regulations governing the conduct of both the ALJ and the ME during the opening statement of an ALJ hearing. In the opening statement, the ALJ must first explain why it is necessary to have an ME testify. And before the ME does so, the ALJ must do the following things:
-Go on record stating that the ME has examined all relevant evidence of record, medical and otherwise
-Verify that the record includes an up-to-date explanation of the ME’s professional credentials and qualifications
-Allow the claimant and his or her representative the chance to ask the ME questions about those professional qualifications
-Go on the record with a synopsis of the opening statement and/or relevant testimony given if the ME was absent
Although the ME may attend the hearing in its entirety, he or she is not required to do so. For further questions about the ME’s role in an ALJ hearing, refer to SSA’s Hearings, Appeals, and Litigation Law Manual (HALLEX), section I-2-5-39.