A very good question indeed! Is there any colourable reason to forbid an injured worker (or anyone else for that matter) to video tape or record an independent medical examiniation (IME)…., other than the fact that an IME (an insurance doctor really) may no longer be able to claim s/he did a 30 minute examination of the injured worker when it actually lasted four minutes and 7 seconds? And that /she may not be able to say certain medical tests were done if they weren’t done? Does this mean someone is afraid of taking away yet another opportunity to actually commit fraud on the courts?
Why would taking video of an IME doing an exam not be allowed?
How many times have you seen “the sign”at the IME’s offices stating someting alon the lines : video taping / recording interview not permitted”? Have you too been asked to sign a form that states you will not video / record the medical examination? Have you ever thought why video recording an independent medical examination would not be permitted?
And why wouldn’t a video recording of an IME not be protected as a legally provileged document (lawyer work), the same as the notes that may be taken by a support person attending the exam with an injured worker? Do injured workers get copies of the raw notes that the IME takes? Do we get the letters from the workcover insurance companies and their lawyers to their IME doctors? No, we don’t!
According to many, these independent medical examinations are simply part of the adversarial workcover process. Can you think of any other aspect of the process where one side or the other doesn’t have the right to record it? Think about it, everything gets recorded.. even your telephone call with your case manager!
Maybe in the old days, bringing in a video recoder (as in person operating a video camera), and/or setting up a video camera on a big tripod would have been seen as an inconvenient intrusion that got in the way of the medical examination, and so people felt that having a representative such as support person there should be enough. But even support people are more often than not NOT allowed inside the examination room, and that is particularly the case with Psychiatric examinations. But surely with modern technology such as a simple iPhone anyone can film an independent medical examination completely discreetely, there are even less obstructive methods and so there is really no good reason to forbid recording of an independent medical examination, is there?
But as we have come to learn there are many very short, incomplete (and made up) independent medical examinations and… the consequences can be totally devastating for the injured worker. And for the IME and the insurance company who paid the IME if he were caught out (on video preferably)!
What would we gain by having videos of our independent medical examinations allowed? A hell of a lot!. Of course, it would still allow certain frequent flyer IME doctors to maniplutae, obscure, fake or distort their medical findings, but it is definitely more difficult to do so when, for example, a range of movement, for example, is captured on video. And it will definietley look bad for an IME doctor if a report details that there were no limitations on a range of movement (say arm/shoulder/knee) but the video shows the range of movement wasn’t even tested! Happens more than you think!
Potential benefits for allowing video recordings of an IME
- these dreaded independent medical examinations will generally speaking be more thorough and more professional. If not, well the judge, arbitrator or jury will see it clearly without having to depend on the word of a support person (if allowd) or the injured worker’s notes against the IME doctor’s word that the examination was a “quickie”, incomplete and unprofessional.
- If we have longer medical examinations they will likely be “more consistent” with the findings of the actual, treating doctors who have been treating the injured worker for years
- If independent medical examinations are closer to the truth, then the differences between the parties will be less, which in turn would lead to fewer disputes and appeals and, best of all, faster resolutions of cases;
- Faster resolution of cases would also decrease the burden on our legal system, and essentially free up courts