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Independent Medical Exams – Assessment for Injured Workers

Independent Medical Exams
Injuries and illnesses impact every workplace sooner or later. Partnering with an organization that specializes in medical assessment and disability management can have great benefits for your company and your insurer. These organizations have expertise in all areas of injury and disability management, and can provide comprehensive services for you and your employees, from injury prevention or flu prevention seminars to independent medical exams.
Types of Examinations
Independent Medical Examinations are evaluations that should be done when an employee suffers an injury and makes an insurance claim. These IMEs must follow legislative guidelines, and must be legally defensible. They are expected to be precise and to use proper language and terminology. Professionals skilled in writing these types of reports closely monitor changes in legislation and follow protocols required. Types of reports required may include:
  • Independent Orthopedic Exam. An orthopedic surgeon will determine if there are valid indicators of musculoskeletal impairment.
  • Independent Neurological Exam. Evaluators seek objective evidence of neurological injury attributable to the accident, and assess whether the injury constitutes an impairment that would result in a disability. This exam often includes tests such as EEGs or MRIs.
  • Independent Physiatry Exam. This type of evaluation concentrates on musculoskeletal and soft tissue injuries, neurological complaints, and pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia. Emphasis in these reports is placed on therapies that will help aid recovery.
  • Independent Medical Exam. This type of exam is usually conducted by a General Practitioner, and is appropriate when a specific treatment is suggested by the claimant's physician, yet no evidence of neurological or orthopedic damage is on file.
  • Independent Psychological Exam. This evaluation, conducted by a licensed psychologist, will examine the psychological impact of the incident on the employee, and will take into account any underlying or pre-existing personality features that may cause under or over-reporting of psychological complaints.
  • Independent Psychiatry Exam. A psychiatrist will examine the employee to see if the incident has led to the formation of any psychiatric illness or impairment. This involves a detailed and comprehensive evaluation by a medical doctor specializing in the area of psychiatry.
  • Independent Neuropsychological Exam. This evaluation looks for neurocognitive or behavioural change due to brain injury. Exams measure cognitive abilities, intellectual functioning, language skills, visuospatial skills, attention and processing speed, executive functioning, learning and memory, and motor functions.
  • Independent Psychovocational Exam. This evaluation occurs when an employee claims disability due to a workplace injury. The evaluation will look at whether or not the claimant is able to perform his or her usual duties, and if any pre-existing conditions were present.
  • Independent Dental Exam. An oral surgeon or dentist evaluates complaints of TMJ, "clicking,” or pain to see if their origin is consistent with having been caused by the incident in question.
  • Independent Rheumatological Exam. Evaluators specialize in the assessment of joints, muscles, connective tissue, soft tissue surrounding joint and bones, as well as autoimmune disorders. Examples are arthritis, lupus or other autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis.
Information When You Need It
Other independent medical examinations may focus on other conditions, or on the employee's skills or vocational abilities. Partnering with a company expert in these types of evaluations can be beneficial to you, and to your employees.
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