Unusual response from an IME

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Our new “guest” post section, launched on 16 October and which captures your submitted content, anonymously and directly on the front end of our site, is proving to be quite popular! Here is our second submitted  guest post titled “Unusual response from IME”, well worth a read as it – again – highlights how workcover insurance companies continue to subject injured workers to repeated and unnecessary examinations, and to pressure “unfavourable” IMEs so it can get the medical opinion it wants. It’s called doctor shopping!

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Unusual response from an IME (Independent Medical Examiner)

By A | Submitted on 21 Oct 2014

IME Dr A, the first IME versus IME Dr B, the second IME

Dr A. (IME) conducted a very competent assessment, I was allowed in during the assessment so l was very impressed.

Then the injured worker had to attend a second IME, l was allowed in to the rooms again as a support person. Dr B. (the 2nd IME) spent approx. 7 mins with the injured worker asking strange questions and informed the injured worker not to wear the back brace that had been requested to be worn by a surgeon, physiotherapist and pain management consultant and at the end of the 7 mins the injured worker asked IME Dr B. if he would like to know what medications he (the injured worker) is currently taking which include opioids, relaxants etc.

The reports were forwarded back to the workcover insurer.

IME Dr A’s report said the injured worker had no current work capacity now nor in the foreseeable future.

IME Dr B’s report stated the injured worker had a current work capacity of 15 hours per week.

The  workcover insurer sent IME Dr B’s report to IME Dr A, requesting that IME Dr A change his report to meet ME Dr B’s report

IME Dr A replied to the insurer stating that he stood by his original report and that there is something very wrong when an eminent Dr is requested by a non-medical trained person to change his report to a report that is crossly in error.

I should also add that l personally perused the reports and have seen the additional 14 or so IME reports all of which except for Dr B’s report concur that the injured worker has no current capacity for work.

How low can a workcover insurance company get — especially when the evidence is so overwhelming in favour of an injured worker?

A

Commentary

Workcover insurance companies continue to expend public monies pursuing medical reports from additional so called IME experts in the face of opinions adverse to it from IME experts already consulted, in the hope that, sooner or later, an IME will say something which gives it some comfort…

So, despite the overwhelming weight of this injured worker’s medical evidence, including that of IMEs, the workcover insurer attempted to contest, by means of subtle or overt coercion, or bribery (who knows?) an independent medical doctor’s opinion about the work capacity and severity of this injured worker’s condition. Sadly this sickening and immoral practice happens very often. Countless injured workers are also subjected to repeated and unnecessary examinations so the workcover insurance can get the medical opinion it wants. It’s called doctor shopping!

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23 Responses to “Unusual response from an IME”

  1. @A (author), thank you so much to give up some of your time to assist aworkcovervictimsdiary by providing this most interesting post! It does really show that our injured visitors and injured workers’ advocates are not only important as readers, but they’re extremely important as contributors too!
    It would be interesting to know if anyone else has evidence of this sickening practice.
    It is good to know that there are still a few truly independent and professional, ethical IMEs out there!

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    • @WCV – I have evidence of it and am currently risking everything in a hope to expose it. I think you also need to expose the “Supplementary Report” scandal that is rife in the system. If the Insurer doesn’t get what they want in the actual report then they request / pay for /coach & direct the IME to what “specific information” they require in order to deny or terminate your entitlements. I have a copy of one instance where they told the IME in writing what they needed i.e. typed it word for word and supplied it to him. He happily copied and pasted what they gave him onto his letterhead and got paid handsomely for his effort, not to mention probably some guarantee to send more woork his way. Why wouldn’t they, how more co-operative could he have been!

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    • @WCV A quick glance at the VWA Psychiatric IME list in VIC shows a Dr Rodney Farnbach completed his Degree in 1957, either this is a typo or the guy is in excess of 80yrs old (well unless he was a child prodigy and did his degree before he was 8yrs old, to not be at VWA’s definition of retirement age of 65). He clearly is well into his 70’s at the very best of gereous calculations. No wonder the system isstuffed! Bet he has a THRIVING medical practice at that age! He has 2 rating on RateMD’s and both say he likes to uses electric shock treatment and one says he still considers a labotomy a valid treatment resource. That would be hysterical if it wasn’t so sad!

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      • Sybil/Marina, I am sure it’s NOT a typo. Recently one of us was seen by a surgeon IME who obtained his medical degree in 1955 (we have the IME’s CV). Needless to mention in what ‘treatment’ modalities the IME still believes, so outdated it is unreal and very frightening.

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        • @WCV3, it’s unbelievable isn’t it. I might argue that i need to stay on weekly payments until I’m in my mid to late 80’s. I f he can do it why can’t we? They like to reire us 55-65 yet employ outdated dinosaurs to assess us. I’m gonna FOI more info!

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          • I’m hoping I can get out of this system asap, still undeciding whether I push ahead beyond the usual period for weekly payments or cut my losses and access super, both income protection and lump sum payment. I just hate having someone have all the control over my life, and luckily I have some other options….. then work out the rest in a few years.

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        • @WCV3 Allianz use a Professor Peter Doherty, Melb VIC. Appartently he commenced his practice in the 1960’s so that probably makes him a dinosaur in his 70’s or more. He is an IME and IB Assessor for them and they have him on their books paying him to have blocks of appointments available for them in advance i.e. guaranteed work and guaranteed income from them……..very “independent” NOT!!! He services Melbourne and Bendigo from what we know. Pls add him to your “bolded” list of IME’s as he’s one to be very wary of from what we have heard. He has numerous scathing reviews on RateMD’s so beware he is a Medico/Legal Specialist for the Insurance Companies BEWARE!!! https://www.ratemds.com/doctor-ratings/3535808/Dr-Peter-Doherty-Melbourne-VIC.html#rating-2591994

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          • Pete, you must have him mixed up with someone else.
            ‘Peter Doherty’ the IME psychiatrist is only in his 50’s.
            There’s also a photo of him on the ratemd link you posted and the guy in the photo is in his 50’s and he looks same as I saw him not long ago.

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            • @Bulied, I saw the pic but it doesn’t say how recent it is? I’m just going on the fact that the VWA statistical info says he commenced his practice in 1960 i.e. Practice started 02/01/1960 so he’s be in his early to mid 20’s if he had graduated so 24 + 54 yrs = 78 yrs approx thereabouts. Perhaps the VWA’s info in the system is wrong, which raises more questions/concerns.

              We have other info from the VWA that says he completed his MBBS in 1972. So that would mean he would be approx 23/24ish and then add 42 yrs, makes him roughly 66.

              Regardless, he has a reputation for being biased towards the Insurer and we have credible info that he definitely is paid to have appointments available for Alianz.

              We see he was already highlighted and reviewed anyway. How was your experience and his report?

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  2. Recently had conciliation meeting in which the ACCS (vic) was presented with insurer’s IME that stated that my partners injury was ‘virtually’ resolved. His medical etc was stopped – we wanted it back.
    Conciliator commenced by commenting on how old IME was, and he was still going.
    In the end it was decided that all benefits be re-instated for the rest of his life (!!!). We were hoping for 6m -1yr 🙂
    In addition we gained weekly payments in the case that his injury resulted in lost time at work, so that he did not use his sick leave. Workcover would cover his absence.
    The union rep was astounded- a better result than expected.
    So there are some great outcomes with Conciliation re IME’s. Make sure you read to report and highlight the inaccurate statements, the vague use of word – virtually, may, should , possibly etc. These mean that the IME is not 100% accurate and they can only ‘roughly’ state future issues.
    Also the IME was with orthopaedic Clive Jones and should have been with a neuro as the issue was not with bones, instead it was nerves.
    Hope that this helps- seems that IMEs are getting to be known as dodgy.

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    bulliedteachervic October 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm
  3. Dr Shopping IME’s – ‘hired guns’

    I have had more than 7 IME reports for psychological injury. One IME described me as a blonde woman of well dressed appearance, that I had 3 children & I worked for NSW TAFE.

    Firstly I have dark/black hair, I had 4 children & I was wearing what I usually wear if/when I use to paint, I feel most comfortable in these & thought it would help to relax, I have never worked for TAFE & worked for the NSW State Govt in a very different role.

    I wrote to the IME & informed him of the recent research on psychological injury & treatment management, also the errors in his report, as the insurer QBE/TMF obviously loved his report stating that I had not complied with best treatment practice as I didn’t take the high dose anti-anxiety/anti-psychotic meds most would take. I tried a different path which was giving me much better hope of managing the symptoms & ongoing issues. I was improving. Had I taken the meds I would have bombed out & not been able to go back to work.

    Of course this went on & on & I went to several more IME’s & eventually I was sent back to the IME after I started on the meds as I was told unless I tried the medication I was not complying with best case treatment (I’m not sure how this honours any basic human rights to chose medical treatment, yet no one seems to care about that), I was told unless I took the meds my claim was over.

    So my doctor reluctantly gave me the scripts, I was then re assessed by the same IME (paid by the insurer) who then readjusted his original report & wrote a psychological impairment/permanent & stable at 29%.

    Of course this was accepted & we are now a year down the track & in the negligence stage & they have sent me to another & I dare say I will go to many more.

    How psychologically impaired claimants are forced to re open wounds which are detrimental to their well being & treatment is beyond me. It begs belief how these insurers can immorally & corruptly use their power to abuse claimants, forcing treatment plans which are not recommended by their treating specialists.

    The caseworker informed me it was requested to have 24/7 surveillance on my children & I (they were also affected by the workplace violence) & as we have an ongoing stalking issue, he declined the request by the insurers legal team, stating it would not be in the health/well being interest of my children and I in this case, given the malevolence of the threats (we wouldn’t know who was stalking us). Of course that caseworker was discharged of his duties & I now have a new caseworker who informs me after cutting my income, my travel claims & being sent to another IME, he has not even read my file as yet (too busy making administrative decisions).

    What I found from working with people most of my life who want power over others is to either give it to them or remove it.

    The insurers only have power over you because they hold the keys to your income. They think that is what gives them the upper hand. I don’t care about the $ any more, we live out of our back packs, 2 kids & I, we have been homeless for over a year, we have just our dog & our car, in the last few weeks they’ve cut my income down saying they made an administrative error & somewhere in 3 yrs paid in advance & now want to rectify it, without absolutely no substantiated evidence to show that – you would think I would know if I had been paid extra!!!

    So now we have learned to go completely without. Without schools, my children have given up their schools, friends, routines, pets, lifestyles. We’ve given up having a home, having a routine, having anything.

    I am a big believer in karma & the universe has a way of balancing up the inbalance, sometimes it takes a while. I believe QBE has a lot coming, those who participate in this disgraceful, disgusting abuse of genuine claimants who thought they & their families were covered if there was an incident at work affecting their income/employment, only to find out it is a complete wrought & corrupt system of power, greed & abuse, they will have their own karma.

    It was interesting to see that once I appealed to the IME as a human being & reminded him of his oath, of his medical training & his reputation, that he did a complete about face on the next report & wrote something which was accurate & reflective of who I am, my diagnosis, treatment & ongoing prognosis.

    Nothing surprises me anymore what these insurers are capable of & willing to do in order to save themselves money, nothing would surprise me.

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    • @Maggie. That is heart breaking to read. I’m so sorry for what you have been through. I see you’re in VIC. I think a lot of us that talk on hear should join the Injured Worker Group of Victoria (their contact details are supplied on here) and get together and pool our resources to fight these morons who are destroying our lives. I’m ready to take action and if there are more of us out there, the more the better. I’m also ready to do a clean sweep of the IME pool and expose the corruption and collusion within the ranks. I need help though bc I’m not well enough to handle it all myself. You can contact us through here or contact the admins over at workcoverorg@gmail.com Nobody should be forced to live like you describe and knowing my own situation is heading down that path is terrifying to me so I don’t know how you cope. Have u been to the Medical Panel? Conciliation? Can u apply for Centrelink assistance? Have you complained to the VWA? Ombudsman? Local Member, Member of Parliament? WorkCover Minister? Something MUST be done about your situation! Even if it means we take it to the media.

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      • Yes I agree with taking it to the media,i can just imagine sitting in front of Tracey Grimshaw.Can you imagine the publics response and even more important the injured and sick people out there in this HELL of a system,one can dream.

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    • Note: MaggieJ’s comment has automatically been highlighted (yellow background), because she received 3 thumbs up votes. Comments which receive 3 or more thumbs up votes are deemed to really ‘add value’ to a comment, and it certainly does, by highlighting the common, perverse IME-mill processes and by loosing everything just because she got injured at work. It’s just horrible and my heart goes out to you MaggieJ.
      MaggieJ, even though you received 29% WPI (and the deeming threshold is 30%) you should be able to pursue a serious injury certificate via the narrative test (VIC) and, provided there was negligence involved, sue at common law damages and get compensation (hopefully a fair compo)

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  4. I have also had rehab officer coaching my GP to write different things on medical reports to suit herself, so she could get browny points. My GP found out and was not very happy. Now up to number 4 rehab officer. but only through myself complaining of lies to my case manager.

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  5. Hi today I received my IME report for psych condition under Comcare and the Dr. Has written in his report that I have negative mindset- I retreat into the sick role when presented with options I dislike to inhibit rehab progress – I have negative attitude – my main barrier appear to be sick role behaviour.

    All I was telling the Dr is that I did not accept an offer for a return to work with a section I worked with in 2012 where I experienced bullying as I have experienced bullying but my case manager insisting to send me there.

    I was shocked by this IME report. Can someone advise who can I complaint to.

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    • @Mike, what State are you in?

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    • @M1ke – according to the Comcare website: “If you believe the medical practitioner has not conducted the examination in a professional manner, please submit a written complaint to us and we will investigate the matter.”
      So, please write a complaint letter about this IME and submit it to Comcare in the first instance.
      For sample letters see: http://aworkcovervictimsdiary.com/2014/10/please-complain-about-notorious-ime/
      You can also make a complaint about this doctor to for example the Health Complaint Commissioner in your state : see http://aworkcovervictimsdiary.com/useful-stuff/complain-about-doctor/

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      • Just an update: I lodged a complaint with the rehab company that doctor works for, with Comcare and with HCCC of NSW. So far I only got aknowledgment that they receibed my complaint from the doctor’s rehab provider and Comcare. Haven’t heard anything from HCCC. What is sad is that my case manager yesterday has used the biased IME report at a RTW meeting. When I told my case manager that I cannot drive that far to a workplace that they are suggesting to transfer me to due to back problems which is nothing to do with my accepted psychological claim, the case manager started to ask me medical questions about my back problems infront of my line manager also asking me to sign a medical release form which I refused so they can get information about my back that is not related to my comp claim. Then she sends me a letter to forward to my back Dr. About 10 questions about my back.Can they do that?

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  6. Hi, reading all these stories just makes me cry , I did feel like it was just me that QBE TMF, case managers treated like crap . I was in such despair when I made up my mind I could no longer cope with them ,the pain and the case manager had won . But I am still here !! .When QBE TMF ring me I go into a depression that I cannot help . The stupid thing is even if its a message I just feel sick I cannot tell you or word it well , but the doctor I see said it is PTSS, WHY WOULD I LET THEM DO THIS TO ME. I must be weak, I will share another story that happened after I told them QBE TMF what the case manager said to me !!! I make my own gift cards as I have always painted as a hobby and been lucky that collectors buy my work I don’t paint as much any more due to injury both shoulders have been reconstructed. both knees are shot I can sit when I want and make cards . I started to do it as pain management it helps with pain I get lost in designing stuff and I love it so much . After the phone call I had ,the girl on the phone somehow got my case manager moved from my case !!!!! well was he pissed off !!!!!! .I had told the doctors all of them theirs and mine that I made cards and sold them also my daughter set up a website for me to sell them and we got an ABN for down the track when they get rid of me I would have this to help run and make my cards .My hubby bought all the stuff for the room and set me up we started buying stock and if anyone knows about the net it can take years to get customers plus we spent $17 ,000 on all this ,and we keep adding to stock to try build it up I also use the stock to design cards .We had our tax done and it read $17,000 loss . We don’t have thousands of cards a card could take 4 hours to make they are very detailed but this did not stop him . I received a letter dated the day he was removed from my case. He wanted all our bank statements all tax for steven and I , a list of who I employ how much I pay in wages and bookwork .He had included a web page mine , he had spent a lot of time looking for it as you need to know what it is you are looking for . I do not do any web stuff as I am bloody hopeless, our daughter does it all .What is funny is the case manager had spoke to me over a year ago about my cards and said they would pay for me to learn the computer when I was ready and I could manage it. He said in his letter that all doctors say totally unfit for work ,but I run a very good internet company ,he had a copy of my ABN form and company name .they listed everything on the site , I could not understand why he did this as he knew !!!! ,but the way he wrote the letter it was like I was doing this and no one knew stating very clearly that WORKCOVER TOTALY UNFIT I SHOULD NOT DO ANYTHING !!!! But I love making cards and my solicitor knew, she said that he is doing this because he was removed from my case , It felt like he was stalking me I could not stop crying ,vomiting and shaking ,.Steven got everything together all paper work banks the lot and sent it to him , he also sent a copy of the letter and copies of everything sent and gave it to my solicitor . this was another breaking point for me the feeling of just wanting to crawl into a dark warm place by myself to getaway and hide from QBE TMF ,the depression got worse as I stopped making cards taking more painkillers I would just sit up in the dark all night I didn’t bother going to bed , why bother the pain had taken over I could not eat or sleep after 4 or 5 days I would fall asleep and it would all start over again another 5 nights up .Looking back at this why would my amazing husband want me ??? I feel so sad for him having to put up with me he works so hard he works shift work , we have a property that I should be able to get out and help him with but if I do go and weed and help I end up in bed god I am useless , He also has our daughters house to look after plus all the doctors visits to Sydney for her she has two children ivf drugs she is ill and has a tumour on the bowel her partner walked out when she was 4 weeks pregnant he was sick of her being ill. So poor Steven has a lot to deal with .He always comes to all doctors with me he has said why are the reports all wrong as they write I was by myself !!!! . Well back to what happened over this site I have !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOTHING BLOODY NOTHING they have not said a word to me as for the case manager he will not speak to my solicitor ,QBE TMF SENT HER A LETTER OVER 4 YEARS AGO STATING SHE COULD NOT SPEAK TO HIM SHE WOULD HAVE TO SPEAK TO THEIR SOLICITOR AS A GO BETWEEN HE REFUSED TO SPEAK TO HER EVER AGAIN .That is yet another story I will share later . The thing is he went off on his own , he stalked me !!! he was not my case manager anymore ?? they have worn me down he told me once that THEY OWN ME and they do they really do.
    PS I AM MAKING CARDS AGAIN NOT SLEEPING VERY WELL I STILL HAVE THE SITE AND OUR DAUGHTER GOT ONE SALE ONTHE NET $49 DOLLARS SO I CANNOT RUN OUT AND BUY A NEW CAR LOL .AS FOR WAGES I WISH I DONT THINK $49 DOLLARS WILL COVER THE BIGPOND COST LOL THANKS GUYS FOR LETTING ME SPEAK I AM NOT VERY GOOD ON THIS TYPING THIS HAS TAKEN 3 HOURS PLUS I DONT KNOW HOW TO FIX MISTAKES YET SUZANNE

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    Suzanne Crowther October 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm
  7. Sorry back again if QBE TMF send me to another few IMES ,what questions can I send in to the doctor before I go can I ask what is his annual income from work cover , how many workers injured does he see a day ? ,is being an IME his main income because I think you are as independent as the person paying the bill , does any one have any ideas on what to ask? thanks

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    Suzanne Crowther October 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm