Social Security Administration Verbatim Hearing Recorders
The Social Security Administration (SSA) was faced with a sizable challenge: a large agency undertaking the complexities of managing individual subcontractors. SSA Verbatim Hearing Recorder (VHR) program staff of the Office of Disability and Review (ODAR) in the New England region were faced with the task of scheduling not only claimants and judges for hearings, but also their attorneys, medical experts, translators, as well as VHRs. Additionally, SSA staff were responsible for reconciling paperwork and case files, rescheduling cancelled hearings, and processing the payroll for more than 60 court recorders in the six New England states.
StratComm was awarded a $6.3 million contract to manage the VHRs in the New England region because of our experience with managing complex programs. We understood the challenge SSA was facing, analyzed the complex program, and found ways to streamline the process and ensure maximum efficiency by establishing a hiring procedure, creating training and mentoring programs, introducing scheduling software, and standardizing pay. In addition, we were able to incorporate our experiences in training development for the VA IT Campus multi-user virtual environment and in pre-employment skill competency testing for U.S. Embassies around the world to create training modules and mentoring programs for VHRs in order to improve performance levels consistently across all hearings.
StratComm is honored to be tasked with this important program and to have received exceptional CPAR ratings on this contract for two consecutive years (2015-2016) of our five-year contract with SSA. Both CPARs included a recommendation to perform work on similar requirements in the future. This CPAR indicates that we have maintained the high level of quality and service to the SSA that we have delivered from the beginning of the contract. For two years running, StratComm has earned “Very Good” ratings in the key areas of Quality, Schedule, and Management. Among the comments from the official government assessments are:
"[StratComm] provided ... very good quality of service in support of SSA ODAR Disability Hearings during the reporting period. Very few complaints were received by the Hearing Offices regarding quality of services received."
"The Hearing Offices have noted that [StratComm] has been very conscientious in accommodating the different needs/schedules of hearing office and remote site."
"[StratComm] management has been extremely responsive to all requests and issues that have been brought to their attention. They are committed to providing responsive service."
StratComm is pleased to announce that we are continuing to expand our relationship with the SSA, as we begin to manage the VHR program for ODAR in multiple states throughout the United States. After receiving accolades from SSA for our strong performance in New England, StratComm was pleased to receive further contract awards to manage VHR services in both New York and New Jersey, and most recently spanning the entire United States. During the past five years, StratComm has quadrupled its workforce, opened a second office in Washington, D.C., and invested heavily in new technologies that enable us to work even more efficiently supporting ever-more complex programs for our public- and private-sector clients both nationally and worldwide. As StratComm expands our reach with the SSA VHR program throughout the United States, we are confident that our experience, expertise, and technology will continue to serve us—and our clients and partners—extremely well.
38 Years of Top-Level Customer Service
“The challenges of [this project] would be considerable for a large business; that StratComm was able to exceed USAID’s demanding requirements on such a short timeframe was a powerful testament to StratComm’s leadership, can-do attitude, and professionalism. In my four years at USAID, no contractor ever performed better on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer.”
—Douglas Dye, former USAID Contracting & Agreement Officer