What Is an Independent Medical Examination?
- Posted on: Jul 28 2020
When you’re injured in an accident at work, you’re going to want to work with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. It’s only natural that you would see the medical professional you’ve worked with for years. However, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company may require you to also see another doctor for what they call an independent medical examination. This examination is vital to your case, but you may not know exactly what the point of it is. Let’s look at the basics of an IME, as they’re usually called.
It’s a Neutral Doctor
You may have been with your current doctor for years or decades. Some people have had the same primary care physician for all of their adult life. You know and trust your doctor, but the insurance company sees this as a problem. They believe your doctor may be biased towards you, so they want you to see an independent, neutral doctor who will, in their minds, more honestly and accurately report your injuries.
Why Does the Insurance Company Not Trust Your Doctor?
In most cases, the workers’ comp insurance company isn’t saying they think your doctor is intentionally lying. However, they do believe that they may be unconsciously biased because they’ve known you for so long. They also want any major treatment, such as surgery or other expensive or extensive procedures, to be confirmed by another doctor. If your doctor has diagnosed you as being permanently disabled, they will also want this confirmed. It’s more or less a second opinion, but unfortunately, one that carries a lot of weight in your case.
Who Selects this Doctor?
In New York, the doctor is selected by the insurance company, your employer if they provide their own worker’s comp insurance, or by the NY State Insurance Fund. This does bring into question their neutrality since the insurance company is paying them. In some cases, you are allowed to select the doctor, while in other cases, the doctor is selected by the judge in your case or is randomly pulled from a pool of qualified doctors.
What Happens During the Exam?
This exam isn’t going to be like a normal medical exam. Instead, the doctor is going to review your entire medical history, look over any documentation regarding your injury from your doctor, and talk to you about any treatment and symptoms you’re experiencing. If they perform a physical exam, it’s likely to be fairly short or limited. They often look more at your reactions and, in their letter, discuss their impressions of your injury. Also note that anything you tell this doctor can be repeated—there is no doctor/patient confidentiality!
If you’ve been injured at work, you want a doctor on your side who will work to get you the compensation you deserve. Here at Maximum Orthopedics, we provide very thorough and honest injury reports that will help you prove your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.