About Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
Independent medical examinations are arranged primarily to determine whether a worker is entitled to compensation, or if the worker has a continuing entitlement to compensation. So, it’s not about you or your health, but about cutting off any benefits such as your weekly payments, ceasing your physiotherapy, psychology entitlements, or simply to find a loophole in the most corrupt system to get some IME to certify you fit -even if your own medical treaters, even super specialist deem you unfit for all work.
When can WorkCover send you to an Independent Medical Examination?
When should the Agent send you to an IME
“When assessing whether a (s112) IME examination is necessary, the agent should consider that the examination will:
- strategically contribute to the management of the worker’s claim, and/or enhance RTW opportunities by addressing specific identified medical and/or treatment issues, and/or identify future medical/treatment management needs
- provide required specialist advice not previously held or available via alternative sources, including the worker’s treating practitioner or specialist “
Note the word ‘strategically‘ … this simply means that the workcover agent (your case manager) is (getting) desperate with all the overwhelming evidence (in your favour) and is in panic mode to send you to an (often inapproriate) IME to find a way to cut off your benefits and/ or to have you certified fit.
Interestingly the Claims Manual also states that your case manager should consider an IME when the IME will provide “required specialist advice not previously held or available via alternative sources, including the worker’s treating practitioner or specialist”.
In 2009, the revised Guidelines state that referral for an independent medical examination is only appropriate when information from the treating medical practitioner(s) is inadequate, unavailable or inconsistent and where the referrer has been unable to resolve the issues related to the problem directly with the practitioner(s).
If an injured worker submits a report from an assessor of permanent impairment regardless of whether they are the worker’s treating medical practitioner and questions regarding that assessment arise, they are to be posed to the assessor in the first instance. If the response from the assessor is inadequate, unavailable, inconsistent or not received within 10 working days, a referral to an independent medical examiner may proceed.
The Act also states that the IME needs to be specialised in the field of the worker’s injury (i.e. for a hand injury a hand surgeon).
Why are they sending me to an IME?
I find it extremely disturbing that (my) case manager only sends me to an IME,when she (as an uneducated, non-medically trained clerk really) is cornered by overwhelming evidence from my own treaters, and needs a way out!
Can you explain why case managers usually send you to IME’s that:
- have nothing to do/are not specialised in the field/area of your injury
- have far less experience in the type of your injury than your own (super)specialist
In my case for example, I have a purely and very specialized orthopedic injury which a general orthpedic surgeon is unable to treat (they referred me to a super specialist centre). So, why do you think that my case manager NEVER sends me to a super-specialist in the field, not even a general orthopedic surgeon, BUT to a general surgeon? General surgeons deal with guts! (i.e. bowel, gall bladder, appendix and things like warts).
What do they hope to gain by sending me to a general surgeon who has no clue about my injury?
On more than one occasion a very old (more than 75 years) ‘general surgeon’ told me that ‘he had never heard about the particular grafting methods used in my injury’ and ‘could not understand the relationship between my limb number 1 and my limb number 2- whilst I had tendons removed from limb number 1 to transplant in limb number 2. This is frightening and yet these people have to write a report about you and decide whether or not you are fit for work, you can or can’t do certain work, if the treatment you are receiving is appropriate and if they can cut off some benefits and entitlements.
On another occasion I received an email from my nasty case manager to say that she ‘…was not interested in my physical condition…’ after I had told her that my injury had taken a turn for the worst and after my super specialist had requested approval for major surgery.
She knew for a fact that I was unfit for all work from a physical perspective yet decided to send me to a psychiatrist ‘to assess my return to work and engagement in rehabilitation” DUH???? Assume I was certified fit for work from a psychiatric side, what f*** difference would it make, given that I am unfit for all work from a physical side?
More recently I was told by my case manager that I was to attend an physical IME. When I asked her why she simply stated that it had been 1 year since my last physical IME (with the bowel doctor). This is obviously not a sufficient reason.
I asked my super specialist (surgeon) to personally speak to my case manager to discuss with her any questions she may have and to ensure that she knew that I am currently unfit for all work, and that I need home help and taxi transport. He explained to her in what way the injury had further deteriorated and that my condition was very serious.
Next thing (2 days later) I hear (apart my super specialist telling me that he spoke with my case manager whom he said was a ‘nutter’ and ‘quite something’) from my case manager that I need to attend an urgent physical IME with a general orthopedic surgeon. She is still unable to give me a (valid) reason as why I need to attend and what it is she hopes to gain out of an assessment by a doctor who is not specialised in the type of injury I have.
I can only assume (again) that my case manager is not happy about my deteriorating condition and inability to work and hopes that a non-specialist might have the corrupt or bribed conscious to state that I am fit for work/some type of work, so that she can cut off some or all of my benefits.
Ironically there has been no need to send me to an IME for a period of 5 years, in-spite of having deteriorated so badly that I have had to undergo 6 major operations to this injury. No-one questioned this, nor if I was safe and in a ‘suitable work environment’… I mean how do you explain 6 operations in 4 years? Well the reason it was not deemed necessary to send me to an IME was of course that I continued to work in between those surgeries…
I would love to hear your thoughts about the so called IME’s!