The past fews days have already been so busy with many questions, horrible stories, and requests for help from injured workers. One seriously and desperately injured worker is looking for a(ny) way we can give him any tips to find legitimately illegal IMEs and treatment of workers? Obviously [this would be best done] anonymously, after the period of time when those injured workers are entitled to any further settlement.
Any tips to find legitimately illegal IMEs and treatment of workers?
“I’m sure you get posts all the time”, writes this injured worker. He was severely assaulted in his workplace 3 years ago and says that it sparked an outrage longitudinally. [Yep, we get that!] . The injured worker also writes that he has been supported by the medical community who have put in reports they find the treatment of workcover/return of work in writing as “creepy” and they have expressed they would consider litigating against practitioners, and even workcover. [Again, this is not new to us, it’s damn creepy, disgusting, humiliating, and misleading at best!]
This seriously injured worker furthermore writes that he (and they) want to do the right thing and make a change.
He will likely never work again due to a horrible psychological trauma and it kills his family and partner to see what the system has done to him.
His question is essentially:
PLEASE CONSIDER USING THIS CONTACT FORM TO AWORKCOVERVICTIMSDIARY, WE CAN THEN PASS ON THE INFO TO THE INJURED WORKER.
We have taken the liberty to copy and paste our article titled “ All rogue IME doctors ought to be purged from the workcover system ”
Work injury victims are repeatedly forced to attend (unnecessary) “Independent” Medical Examinations (IME) when they make a workcover claim. Unlike any other visit to a doctor, injured workers have no choice in who their “independent” medical assessor will be, as this decision is made by their workcover insurer (and medically uneducated case manager).
During such an IME, vulnerable and injured workcover victims are no longer ‘patients’ but are now ‘clients’ to whom the assessing IME doctor basically owes no ‘duty of care’. Far too often the IME doctor will provide an unqualified, biased or trashy assessment that becomes part of a injured worker’s medical file. Workcover benefits, such as medical and like treatment (incl. surgery), weekly payments and rehabilitation are often wrongly discontinued based on a shoddy IME doctor’s report and it can take months to even years to have these treatments and benefits reinstated.
Worse yet, our government also allows the workcover insurer to terminate or suspend an injured worker’s benefits for simply failing to appear at an IME assessment when ordered to do so.
Workcover victims should be very concerned when attending these IME assessments when there is no real and reliable oversight, no way of knowing whether that IME doctor has a multitude of complaints about the quality of their work that have been kept “secret”or out of sight, i.e the IME doctor has been found guilty of an offence or has been subject to disciplinary action or an adverse finding in relation to his / her duties as a medical practitioner by a court, board, tribunal, organisation, body or entity including the Medical Practitioners Board or an interstate or overseas body; the IME doctor has his/her workcover authority approval previously revoked
Several of our searches related to Legal/Court Decisions found that some Judges/ Arbitrators etc have described what they are asked to accept as ‘IME doctor/expert witness evidence’ as “inaccurate, misleading, defective, incomplete, deficient, not correct, beyond their field of expertise and flawed” .
How is the vulnerable injured worker supposed to discover the information on such –at times censored– matters that have kept the public in the dark about the quality of the medical services provided by these shoddy doctors?
Are injured workers supposed to read all legal cases so that they can inform themselves of such adverse IME legal decisions?
Fact is adverse comments about IME doctors / expert witnesses are deeply buried in Decisions few workcover victims ever read! So the injured worker is kept in the dark about the “qualifications” and reputation of the IME doctors and must attend at his/her own risk. For this reason alone, workcover victims should never attend IME assessments without a family member or friend to accompany them to keep records.
The lack of accountability has allowed a small group of pro-workcover insurer and anti-injured workers doctors to operate without fear of consequences while providing workcover insurers and our courts with unsound and substandard IME reports. Reports that are then used to disqualify and discrediting legitimately injured workers.
Shoddy insurer-chosen IME doctors have been a continuous problem for countless injured victims, particularly the most seriously injureds.
Many of the IME doctors and workcover authorities and their insurer agents who have been the key architects of our insurance compensation system have the opinion that many injured workers exaggerate their impairments for opportunistic gain…
Some of these ‘experts’ have been sketchy characters indeed.
“The prominent feature at this interview was what I consider to be overacting. The appearance of great anguish was so excessive that I can only regard it as histrionic. It is my impression that [his complaints] are manufactured for the purposes of elaborating upon what may have been a genuine disorder in the past………….In my opinion the state of the patient no longer meets the criteria of PTSD, but rather impresses me more as malingering hysteria……
The injured person’s account of the examination:
“I found Dr X’s attitude from the start to be provocative and intimidating. He frequently smirked when I replied to his questions, and the whole interview with him was more in the nature of an interrogation. At a later stage of the interview Dr X sat me in a chair and asked me to hunch up my shoulders. [Dr X has no orthopaedic qualifications or expertise.] I indicated to him that I was in pain and that pushing down caused me pain. He asked me to hunch up my shoulders again and I refused. He pushed down on my shoulders hard..”
This IME has obviously helped set a standard of injured worker bashing and abuse that became acceptable and it continues to this day.
The problem of bias
Judges have been complaining about the lack of objectivity in expert evidence for a long time. The following lament was made by a judge over a hundred years ago:
“Undoubtedly there is a natural bias to do something serviceable for those who employ you and adequately remunerate you. It is very natural, and it is so effectual that we constantly see persons, instead of considering themselves witnesses, rather consider themselves as the paid agents of the person who employs them.”
See Lord Arbinger v Ashton (1873) 17 LR Eq 358 at 374.
We believes all ‘rogue’ IME doctors ought to be purged from the workcover system – whether providing (on a hefty fee for service basis) substandard, shoddy, unqualified or flawed assessments to workcover insurers – or to injured worker’s lawyers – or to both.
If our judges or arbitrators have made critical or adverse comments concerning an IME doctor, we believe they should make the comments public rather than leave them deeply buried in decisions that very few read.
Adverse comments made about a rogue IME should be allowed to be used against the IME in subsequent cases and disallow the use of any IME who has been the subject of , lets say, 3 negative comments. This would be the only way we could get rid of ALL shoddy, biased IME doctors.
- Dr Amanda Sillock -occupational phsyician is an IME for WorkSafe and on the Medical Panel. Dr Amanda Sillock is well known to injured workers as a most unprofessional, highly biassed, so called “Independent Medical Examinator” (IME), used by Allianz (and possibly other workcover insurers). In fact Dr Amanda Sillock gives herself away in this interview with the Sunday Age (2005)
- Dusan Milosevic, posed as a fake psychologist, who provided forged Degrees from Serbia’s Belgrade University to the Victorian Psychologists Registration Board, practised in the State for seven years from 2001 and conducted more than 7000 consultations, including many IMEs.
- Frustrated and abused to death by workcover: a landmark legal case
- Workcover independent medical examinations: a horrid experience
- Independent medical examiners are flown in interstate and are paid $439 an hour
- Dr Richard Gibbert – orthopedic surgeon, Sydney
Complaints against IMEs – WorkSafe Victoria (Online Claims Manual)
If a worker is concerned about the conduct of a s112 examination, they may make a complaint.
Complaints may include allegations of any of the following:
- causing unnecessary pain in an examination
- complaints of an examiner’s manner
- incorrect reporting
- inappropriate behaviour.
All complaints about IMEs should be referred to the IME Services Branch of WorkSafe (contact 03 9641 1757).
The nature of the IME complaint determines how the complaint will be handled. WorkSafe will only investigate administrative complaints. Other complaints in relation to the professional and ethical conduct of IMEs may be referred to either the:
- Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria or relevant Allied Health Board or
- Health Services Commissioner.
Types of complaints
If a verbal complaint is received, the agent must:
- register a complaint
- advise the complainant that WorkSafe assesses all complaints about IMEs and that the complaint will be referred to WorkSafe
- Notify WorkSafe immediately about the complaint by contacting the Health Services Group on 03 9641 1757. The details to include are:
complainants name (if not worker, please specify)
name of examiner
outline of complaint.
Agents must not contact the medical examiner regarding the complaint or any matter related to the complaint.
If a written complaint is received, the agent must:
- date stamp the day of receipt
- forward complaints within 24 hours of receipt to:
IME Services Branch
GPO Box 4306
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
- or fax immediately to 03 9641 1767
- Include any relevant additional information in regard to the complainant or medical examiner, for example medical reports, IME referral letter correspondence previously received etc
- place a copy of documentation on the worker’s claim file
- notify the complainant that WorkSafe assesses all complaints about IMEs and that the complaint will be referred to WorkSafe.
Agents must not contact the medical examiner regarding the complaint or any matter related to the complaint.
Keep a register of complaints
Agents are encouraged to keep a central register to record the details of medical complaints against a s112 medical examiner, whether verbal or in writing. The details that may be recorded include:
- date complaint received
- medical examiner’s name and address
- details of appointment
- name of worker
- claim number
- name of employer
- name of person or organisation making complaint, if different from worker
- details of complaint
- type of complaint:
verbal or written
administrative or medical
- date complaint referred to WorkSafe
- details of any action taken.
Referrals to s112 medical examiner who was the subject of a complaint
If the worker has lodged a complaint and specifically requested not to be referred to the IME again, agents should seek an alternative IME for future examinations.
Note: Only WorkSafe can remove a medical examiner from the approved list but agents can determine which medical examiners from the list are to be used.
Know of any disgraceful, biased IME?
You can however rate any doctor on “rate an MD website” and use the link (and not the IMEs name) in a comment. You can also review our list of known IMEs on our IME List page. (even if there are good ratings, we know better, it’s just themselves and their staff rating). You can also use anonymous sites such as PasteBin.
Here’s a great example of a rogue IME on Rateanmd website:
Good luck with your IME’s…. make sure your read the articles under ‘IME’ for some good tips and insights and how to prepare and protect yourself during those dreaded examinations.