Craziness of psychiatric IME assessments

crazy-IME

A couple of days ago, our co-warrior Trinny send us an interesting link, featuring the OZloop creatives with a most satirical look at the [psych] labeling of public servants. Nothing like holding up the mirror to these flawed practices!

Craziness of psychiatric IME assessments

Poetic Pathologising Psychiatrists – by Ozloop

 

Mirror mirror on the wall

Who is the most pathologised of all

Is it them as they contend

Or is it me as I pretend

Mirror mirror on the wall

Please tell me why do I project

So that others I may reject

Mirror mirror on the wall

I’m the most narcissistic of them all

So be you right or be you wrong

I must surely do them all wrong

Mirror mirror on the wall

I must conclude they that they are sick

So my labels I will make sure stick

Mirror mirror on the wall

There adjustment I must compel

Lest I be seen as the one . . .

Unwell

24 Responses to “Craziness of psychiatric IME assessments”

  1. I know a certain IME my insurer advised they are not using any more after my request not to be sent to him. One of my friends who did see him made a complaint to the insurer about how he bullied her. This is one for the people!!! They sent me to another “hired gun” and due to my complaints about his bullying and the false and misleading information so obvious in the report the insurer informed me they were no longer using him either and that they reported him to WorkCover. That’s two for the people! Both are very popular as “hired guns” mentioned on this website!! That is two less for one insurer to use, however other insurers are most likely taking them on. I am just finishing up my complaint to WorkCover myself.
    If we all complain about these ruthless, unfeeling psychos perhaps it WorkCover will understand the system is better without them!!

    Bashed and bullied June 11, 2014 at 9:36 pm
    • I had a terrible experience with one of these “doctors” also mentioned in these posts. I complained to WorkCover and to the HCCC. He is being investigated for his bullying and unprofessional manner… It is not fair that we have to deal with this on top of our illness…
      The more people complain the fairer it will be for other injured workers in the future

  2. My employer arranged for me to attend two psychiatric assessments even though we had previously agreed to use my own doctor. (I say 2 because i was unable to attend the first one due to a clash in time with another appointment). For both assessments I asked for a copy of the letter sent to the doctor and the reasons why I was being sent. My employer refused to provide these and cancelled the appointment. They then claimed I failed to attend both appointments and used this as a reason to terminate my employment.I have asked both IME assessors for copies of the letters provided by my work but they claimed that it has been destroyed…

     

     

    • If you are in NSW under WorkCover you must contact WorkCover 1310 50 immediately to tell them what your employer has done to you. It is not legal to sack someone in this manner. Ring Fair Work Aus (sorry don’t have number so you will need to check website) as what is being done to you is illegal. If you are under WorkCover NSW it is the insurer who has to arrange the IME and the WorkCover Guidelines about the processes and what information is to be provided to you is clear. These are mandatory guidelines and you must be notified the reasons why you are being sent to the IME. It is urgent you make a complaint directly to the insurer themselves. Find out from your case manager who the Operations Manager is and get their phone number and email address. Email exactly what has occurred and ask them to phone you to discuss the matter. After the phone call email back a summary of what they have told you and request they verify what they are doing about the matter via email. The Operations Manager is supposed to ensure the WorkCover Guidelines are being followed by the staff and should act on your complaint. I suggest you get on the WorkCover website and have a look at the guidelines for Independent Medical Examinations, 2012. If your employer is using particular IMEs it is suspicious particularly if you have already been seen by one. All Independent Medical Examiners must be “independent” of either side and approved by WorkCover on this basis so if you have already been to one the insurer must use the report unless there is  something wrong in the report. If you are in another state get on the Website and find out the applicable guidelines. FairWork Aus applies to all states and will intervene if you have been sacked illegally as it sounds you have. Record all you information about what has happened to you with all emails, dates etc as what has been done to you  this could be victimization because you have made a bullying complaint. This is also not legal.

      Good luck. Get onto this today!!!

      Bashed and bullied June 4, 2013 at 8:48 am
  3. I have just been through a horrific experience with my insurer, including an IME experience and other matters. I made complaints before and after seeing the IME and now it has all come to fruition. The insurer has advised they will no longer be using the IME I complained about and I have been advised my insurer will not be using another commonly used IME. The karma bus is getting ready to crash but it needs your help!!!

    This is the time anyone who has been the victim of “doctor shopping” should forward their complaints about how they were treated, directly to the General Manager of their insurer as well as the Operations Manager. Look up the website of your insurer and get a phone number. Ring your insurer to ask for the names and emails of the General Manager and Operations Manager and then email your complaint about the IME who bullied you, lied about what occurred in the assessment  or if their opinion is totally contrary to your treating doctor or other assessors you have seen. CC any complaint to WorkCover WIRO and Service Provider Manager. This is very important and I have inside information so  if your insurer and WorkCover is made aware of which IMEs have been used in “doctor shopping” by the insurance case managers and the insurers’ solicitors there will be plenty of evidence to encourage a full review of such matters by the ombudsman.You will find the higher up people in the insurance companies are, the less they are being made aware of what is really going on and there are cover ups by those below them. I will be taking my info  further and will be requesting an investigation into what I believe to be fraudulent behaviours throughout the Workers Compensation insurance industry. It is important to understand the distinction between WorkCover, who is the regulator and the insurers who are scheme agents. WorkCover are not aware of how much of this type of illegal or unethical behaviour is occurring under control of the scheme agents and by case managers or solicitors of the insurer, so it is up to us to make them all aware of what is going on with certain IMEs.

    I know I have said most of this before but I am telling you this thing is building and a ground swell of complaints to WorkCover and the insurers is needed now!!!

     

    Note: un-privatised by admin- when using the private option NOBODY but the writer of the comment and the admin can see the comment. We believe that this comment was written to be visible to all our readers.

    Bashed and bullied May 8, 2013 at 11:34 am
  4. Hi,

    I came across this website by accident when I saw the name of Dr Doran Samuell mentioned in a news article and did a google search on the psychiatrist who was rude and abusive to me many years ago in regards to a workplace mental health claim for depression and PTSD.  I wish I knew now what others have said above – that I had the right to refuse to see him.  Like you, I was also aware of his history, however I did not realise I could refuse to see him and ask for another specialist instead.

    Dr Doran was aggressive, and had a clear agenda to bully me into recanting my statement about the bullying I endured in the workplace over many years.  He upset me greatly, to the point where I am sitting here on a Saturday night in tears writing this because of the anxiety his name invokes – even though my case was settled long ago.

    This doctor has an agenda, and it’s not to independently or fairly review mental health claims.

    • Please record your experience and send a copy of what happened to you to the WIRO at WorkCover. Your case may be settled but it is useful to put in a Statutory Declaration about what happened to you so WorkCover gets an idea of what some of these IMEs are doing. There are many IMEs who are acting unethically and these should be reported. No one with a psychiatric illness should feel worse after seeing a psychiatrist and when you have PTSD and are now in tears about an IME assessment it demonstrates the experience exacerbated your PTSD. Please report your story to WorkCover as they need to know. WorkCover are the ones who control and approve IMEs so WorkCover need your information to assess the performance of the IMEs. I saw another IME and I have been taken seriously due to the bullying i endured from the IME.

      If you have had a bad experience with an IME or IPC or AMS then report it to WorkCover, Health Care Complaints Commission, Workers Compensation Commission, the insurer, Medical Board, Physiotherapy Board etc. You can Google the Codes of Conduct for medico legal examinations in each state and use these as a basis of complaints. There are assessors who have been charged by the HCCC because they have had genuine complaints. The law is the law and the Medical Practice Act in NSW determines medico legal examinations should be carried out with the same professional competence as any medical examination and all assessors are mandated to comply.

      All complaints must be genuine as the making of false complaints is illegal. Please have any witness make a Statutory Declaration which is a court document.

      Bashed and bullied June 4, 2013 at 10:05 am
    • Hi
      I would like to know a little more information on what this doctor did to you. I had a bad experience with him as well
      Pls contact me

      • Note – if anyone would like to contact a commentator privately, please do so via aworkcovervictimsdiary (admin) who will forward your message (email) in utter confidence to the person you want to contact and it will be up to the other person to let us know if we can share their email provided (alias please) with the other party. Use our contact page.

  5. Update:

    A very helpful member of this site advised contacting NSW WorkCover about Dr Samuell.  They, in turn, contacted the insurer.  I was advised today that I am now scheduled to see another psychiatrist – Ass Prof Michael Robertson, on the Gold Coast on the 22 May.  I have been advised that this appointment is to determine “current status, prognosis, capacity to work and treatment requirements”.

    Thank you very much to the people who provided assistance.  I can’t tell you the difference it made.

     

    • @Jo Mitchell – so so glad that you found some much needed help – that’s what this site’s about! Good luck and keep us posted!

      workcovervictim March 15, 2013 at 9:47 am
    • Just wondering why the insurer made you see someone on the Gold Coast. Make sure the IME also had your full file as in my case only limited biased information was provided to the IME/ psychiatrist by the insurer’s solicitors. Hope the IME was accurate and honest.

      Good on you for standing up to the insurer and helping others by highlighting to WorkCover what is actually going on with particular IMEs. I made complaints and it has made a difference so thank you for making a difference as well.

      Could you please write down your experience and send a copy to the insurer’s Operations Manager so they are made award of exactly what the people below them are doing concerning the use of certain IMEs. There seem to be a number of IMEs used extensively by insurers and this is undermining the independent factor allowing biased reports to be produced. Your case is a good example and you can help others by alerting the Operations Manager of the insurer and then by sending a copy of your experience to the WIRO at WorkCover including any response you got from the insurer’s Operations Manager.

      Thanks for helping others.

      Hope all went well with Dr Robertson.

      Bashed and bullied June 4, 2013 at 9:40 am
  6. What you have said concerns me greatly as I was sent to another IME and as a result I tried to commit suicide! I made complaints like you, and was sent anyway. What I didn’t know at the time was that even if the Guidelines are not followed by the insurer, once you are assessed you cannot dispute the IME on the basis the WorkCover Guidelines have not been followed- loophole no one has closed!!

    Find out if your insurer has followed the WorkCover Guidelines for IMEs to the letter of the law and if they have not, make your complaint on this basis and tell them you can’t comply with the IME assessment until they do. WorkCover claims assistance advised me the IME guidelines are mandatory, so look them up on the WorkCover website.  If your insurer has not made a reasonable attempt to get the information they require from the documentation they have, they are required to contact your doctors to get the information before considering an IME assessment. If they are challenging another IME assessment of permanent impairment, they are only meant to send you to another IME if they can ascertain errors in the IME assessment you have supplied to them. They should ask your psychiatrist or doctor if they cannot clarify anything in this regard. When you are sent for an IME the insurer should send a “notification to the worker” advising you what information they could not ascertain from your medical practitioners. If they have not then you can tell them they are not complying with the Guidelines. If your case manager refuses to listen go to the supervisor and keep going higher till you get to the General Manager who will listen, as it is their job to ensure their staff are complying with WorkCover regulated guidelines. Each insurer has a manager at WorkCover who must ensure the insurers are complying with their contract. if it is a gov dept then SiCorp manages the TMF insurer. Make your complaints to the appropriate manager and to the Provider Services Manager at WorkCover. Regardless of who manages all insurers must comply with the WorkCover Guidelines as they are Legislated to do so.

    As for the assessor you refer to there is evidence to prove he has a pre-conceived bias against victims of bullying and is therefore unable to be impartial so your insurer cannot guarantee you a fair and accurate assessment. The WorkCover Guidelines state the insurer must send you to the nearest IME to where you live so look it up on the WorkCover website and ask your insurer to explain why they are willing to fly you to Sydney to waste money when there is someone closer. Ask the General Manager of the insurer via email to tell you why they are allowing their staff to waste money when the new legislation came about due to such practices.

    IMEs are meant to be “independent” of both the insurer and worker and it is the job of WorkCover to ensure they are.

    No one should be examined by Skype and no reasonable IME could make a proper assessment in this manner. This would be just as inaccurate as a phone assessment. The IME referred to above videos his assessments so if you do go ahead, you too should face a video camera toward your computer screen to tape the manner of his questioning. A person I know stated she was coerced into agreeing to be videoed as the IME asked “Aren’t you going to co-operate?” so she thought she had to and therefore agreed. Any IME that wants to video or tape the session cannot refuse to let you tape or video the session yourself and if they don’t agree then you don’t have to agree either so get them to turn the video camera toward themselves before starting. If you do agree then take a document for them to sign stating they will supply a copy of the taped session to you and you will only agree on the basis they sign your form.

    Your evidence above shows the IME provides a biased viewpoint to the media and he has a conflict of interest that could undermine his ability to be impartial. Refuse the assessment on this basis.

    If this has made your illness worse have your doctor provide you with a letter outlining the risk the insurer is creating by allowing you to be assessed under such conditions.If you are already having a breakdown over this you are to unstable to be put at risk of further bullying.

    Personally I do not want anyone to have to go through what I went through. I know another person who saw the same IME I saw and also tried to commit suicide.

    WorkCover needs this type of evidence to stop the undermining of IMEs. The word “independence” means just that, so why is there so much evidence certain IMEs are being used as a means of gaining evidence to dispute claims?

    Statistics are required to see just who is getting all the IME and IC work for the insurers.

     

    Bashed and bullied February 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm
    • Thank you for the time you’ve taken to provide the information and let me know part of your story.  It’s very generous of you and it’s a big help.  I wrote my “goodbye letter” last week so I am really conscious of trying to remain balanced.  I remember the OH&S officer at my work saying to me, “Don’t let the bastards beat you.”

      It is a ridiculous system when it seems to only drag you down further because wrongs aren’t righted in the first place.  I’d like to see Brodie’s Law implemented in every state.

      I’ve rung WorkCover this morning and they are going to contact the insurer and ask why they are doing the IME this way and with this psychiatrist.  Of course I’m sure the insurer will have a reply ready but it will further document my concerns.

      I’m going to write to the insurer (again), WorkCover NSW and relevant ministers about this process – when I have a “good” day.  I’m printing the guidelines to read them as well.

      Thank you.  Your message come through during a down moment and it’s good to know you’re continuing on through the fray.

      • My complaints about how I was treated by the case manager and supervisors who didn’t listen to my complaints before I went to the IME, went to the General Manager of the insurance company who made personal contact regarding my matter after I tried to harm myself. It is now being investigated, so it is always worth going up the chain till someone will do something before you do something to hurt yourself.  Send an email telling the GM of the insurance company how this is making you so unwell and that you don’t know what you might do if you have to go through with it. Provide the evidence you have found and ask for investigation of what is going on. I got support from the GM and was told the insurer was concerned about what happened and that the insurer did want to know about IMEs who do the wrong thing  in assessments  with no regard to the fact the person is already very unwell, thus making them worse.

        If they tell you it is common practice to do what they are doing and you can point out the IME guidelines state otherwise they will have to check the Guidelines and you can inform WorkCover who is the regulator. In my case the fax they stated was sent to my doctor never arrived at the surgery and the insurer made no other attempt to get any further information. They already had the IME organised even before the ten day time period was up for the doctor to reply, so even if the doctor did get a fax there was no time to reply. Check with your doctors. Ask your insurer for proof of their attempts to get information from your NTD, treating psychiatrist or psychologist who all know your condition best. The insurer is mandated to comply with the WorkCover Guidelines and in my case they have admitted they have not been complying so make sure you know exactly what the Guidelines are.

        If you have been previously assessed by an IME for the insurer, who treated you properly and listened to what happened in your workplace, then you have the right to be sent back to that same IME as per the guidelines.

        If all injured workers started making a complaint each time they went to a bad IME there would be more action taken to eliminate such a waste of time and money and the injured worker would have a chance to improve their health. WorkCover have been very helpful in my case. They have to follow regulations as well and no action can be taken on an IME until there are six genuine complaints in one calendar year about the IME. Complaints should also go to the Health Care Complaints Commission as they also, can’t do anything until six genuine complaints are made in a year. Complaints must be valid, not just that you didn’t like the assessment result, so it is always a good thing to take a support person and put it in an email that you will be doing so to the insurer.

        Keep your chin up and remember your life is worth saving and the insurer is meant to be supporting you so let them know that. You are a person who went to work and tried to do your job and someone, who was obviously not happy with their own life, tried to take something from your life just to make themselves feel more powerful. Bullying is about taking power from others so remember who you are and don’t let anyone steal your spirit from you. No one invites bullying and it is time that message got out so keep up what you are doing so we can all work together to stop it!

        I recommend you also send an email to John McPhilbin/Michelle Burgess of the Injured Workers Support Group for some help in NSW.

         

         

         

         

        When I got any disinterest I forwarded all my emails to the insurer to the insurer’s manager.

        Bashed and bullied February 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm
      • @Jo Mitchell – URGENT ATTENTION
        http://wiro.nsw.gov.au/media/11162/2013___january_30___wiro_wire___work_capacity_decisions___updated.pdf
        It is also likely that your examination by Dr S (via Skype) will be under the old legislation – a review to assess “capacity for work” – it is not anything to do with “Work Capacity Assessment”. Please see the link from the WIRO to where yu wants to know when insurers are doing this. Jo should complain to WorkCover and WIRO in writing asap.
        We sent you an email.

  7. How wonderful to find this site!  I experienced workplace bullying for over 12 months.  My claim was accepted by the insurer but the loss of income (I earnt above the statutory rate) lead to me losing my homes and now battling bankruptcy (amongst the other emotional, familial and health issues).  The new NSW legislation means that compensation payments will cease shortly.  I am scheduled to attend a Skype(?) IME assessment next month and after Googling the “independent” psychiatrist, Dr Doron Samuell, look what I found!

    See below.  Nothing like an alleged bully conducting an IME assessment!

    From the legislative Assembly

    http://www.bressington.net/Files/SpeechesQuestions/Samuell, Dr D..pdf

    http://www.bressington.net/Files/SpeechesQuestions/2012/WorkCover_19_September_2012.pdf

    Seemingly a prolific writer with strong views about bullying claims

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/leadership-not-laws-key-to-ending-workplace-bullying/story-e6frg9if-1226476087656

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/worklife/why-your-boss-is-scared-to-talk-to-you/story-fn7j1dox-1226477232007

    His clients are insurances companies and what do insurances companies not want to do?  PAY OUT

    http://www.professionalopinions.com.au/ – /our-clients/4549547983

    http://www.sr2.com.au/services.html

    Example of relationship with insurers – Nothing like raffle prizes to foster nice feelings –

    http://www.professionalopinions.com.au/ – /industry-news/4564848447

    How can this man produce independent reports?

    “By improving medical risk management, Dr Samuell says organisations have the ability to decrease the cost of their policies, reduce their premiums and ultimately gain greater market share and increased profits.”

    http://insuranceandrisk.com.au/73598037/New_approach_to_medical_risk_management

    • Hi Jo

      Thank you for all the great info! We do feel rather mortified for you having to be assessed by this “doctor” and would urge you to ask your lawyer to immediately cancel this assessments (and have him present the above conflict of interest evidence), and have you sent to a decent IME. It is your right to reasonably refuse an IME is there is enough grounds to do so and to request a different IME (they are all supposed to be independent, so ask them what the problem is). Good luck and keep us posted!

    • Jo, I have also been instructed to see Dr Doran. Did you get anywhere trying to fight the appointment? Good luck.

       

      • As you might imagine, the insurance company wasn’t interested in acknowledging my concerns.  I have been offered a Skype interview with Doron Samuell or a flight to Sydney to attend another “independent” psychiatrist of their choosing. Given health and other factors, the flight to Sydney is not an option.

        So, I will record (via email) my  concerns about Doron Samuell with the insurance company again and WorkCover NSW prior to the appointment and I have also raised it with my solicitor and with my psychiatrist.  I will have a support person present at the time of the appointment.  It is important for the support person to have the knowledge, presence and ability to call a halt to the assessment if the behaviour of this doctor becomes inappropriate.

        IME’s are yet another failing in the current one-sided process.

        Employer > insurance company /NSW WorkCover > rehabilitation provider/IME = relationships that lead to pre-determined outcomes that have nothing to do with the health and recovery of employees and everything to do with cost negation or reduction.

        That bit we all know so it is baffling that the process continues.  I guess things change when there is weight in numbers so injured workers will have to keep speaking up! No mean feat when we are suffering a range of reactions which may include major depression, anxiety, etc as well as the ire of insurance companies.

        In the meantime, I am using every technique in my kitty to try and remain calm and balanced.  If you are up to it let me know how you go.

  8. aworkcovervictimsdiary received the following message … what can we say but that it is so typical of an IME psych assessment… We have seen cases where the “support person” as well as the “injured worker” were told (verbally and in writing) that they were not allowed to take notes or record the assessment as it was not “a criminal matter”… Needless to say that most shrink assessments (IMEs) do feel like criminal interrogations, and the reports that follow are often mindbogglingly outrageous…. where to from here indeed….That this is a well known problem is a FACT, yet our “authoritative bodies” simply choose to turn a blind eye…

    “I supported a friend yesterday with an insurance directed psychiatric appointment. It was really stressful for my friend. The psychiatrist was alarmed that my friend had support and wanted to know who I was, then she turned on me (barked) and wanted to know my full name and asked me to show ID. My friend was becoming very distressed and asked why this information was required. The answer was people sneak their solicitors/lawyers into appointments. Not satisfied with me not revealing my full name we were made to wait 15 mins in reception while a call was made to the insurance company. Hence, the appointment was 20 minutes late starting. On entering the office I was told to put my pen away as note taking wasn’t allowed. My friend was informed that “this is not a treating consultation I am here to write a report. This is an independent consultation which may or may not assist your claim”. An hour into the appointment my friend was asked personal questions about her family such as where and how she grew up etc, was she disciplined as a child etc. When my friend questioned why this was necessary as she had already explained it was work related, the psychiatrist said she had to do a full psych analysis. This statement Contradicts what was stated up front that this was not a medical consultation.
    Where is procedural fairness, my friend is attending with a stress/anxiety condition and the insurance’s hired gun ups the stress level and denies procedural fairness by not allowing notes to be taken. This needs to be remedied, where to from here?”
    • Complain, in writing, to the shrink in question, to the insurer and the medical board… is all one can do…

      See –>

      This amazing and most enlightening video clip features a lawyer who suffered a workplace injury to her back and neck and who suffers chronic pain. She discusses the major issues injured workers face with the so-called medico-legal consultants (doctors) and really wonders if these are doctors who are struck off, where their Hippocratic oath is and, most importantly, believes that an urgent review is needed into the medico-legal consultant industry.

      workcovervictim3 February 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm
  9. This is gold! God this is just the best country we live in! We are invincible! Unbeatable strength of character! This is how we treat our adversaries, by making complete fun of ’em! They don’t know who they’re messing with, these “high n’ mighty” bloody public “servants”. They’re unAustrayan!  This is so hilarious! Thanks for posting this. It really makes light of all the grief & such that we face in the Legal system (whether it’s WC, Civil-Liability, or any other). It’s a breath of fresh air.

    Cheers,

    Stevie J

  10. What a great post! After spending some time in tears this morning, I got a much needed laugh from it. Thanks. The metaphor with nazism fits so perfectly. And I love the poem.

    The IME psychiatrists are the most cynical and abusive when they can get away with it. I always take a friend into the assessments now as a matter of course. Won’t see an IME who won’t let me do this as it is too harmful to my mental health.

    Over the course of time, these IME’s have created so many lies about my life story and my workplace injury. It’s frightening to think that these false histories could have been read by up to 50 or more people from the insurance lawyers who crawl all over my claims constantly to the ever changing parade of Case Managers, let alone the bullies at work who probably read all they could of my private medical reports.

    I’ve been severly bullied by an IME, had him write a really biased and unprofessional report which the insurer used to deny my claim for 10 months – leaving me to rot and my mental health injuries to fester. I’ve had IME’s spend only 20 minutes of the 45 minutes alloted for the interview, then just cut and paste from previous IME reports. I had one IME take 3 mobile phone calls during his first interview of me! They are cynical, unprofessional arseholes, and any that start out being decent, probably don’t get work from the insurers any more.