It has just come to my attention that a Victorian Injured worker was asked to undergo an independent medical examination in Melbourne CBD, BUT with an independent medical examiner that was flown in from QLD! The best medical specialists are in Melbourne, so why the need to fly one in?
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?
Following an earlier post about “inconsitencies” and the sad truth that workcover will also “Google”you“, I “Googled” some workcover-related articles in the media and bumped on the following interesting story, which was featured on ABC News last year. In this story an injured prison officer said doctors, selected by WorkSafe insurance agents, lied and falsely claimed she had been a rodeo rider in an attempt to save the compensation regulator money. “It’s not even the words I used. I said I had been involved in the rodeo association. I haven’t even ridden a bronco or a bull,” she said.
Sounds familiar? Bet it does!!!
Generally speaking, and as for example outlined in the Independent Medical Examiner – IME – Sevices Standards, (in Victoria) a doctor hired to examine a patient/injured worker on behalf of a workcover insurance company ((or employer), does not establish a (standard) doctor-patient relationship. However, we believe that there are times when at the very least, a limited duty to the injured worker (patient) may well exist in some circumstances! And that the IME in question could potentially be sued for liability (i.e. malpractice)!
The workcover insurance company (who is defending your workcover claim) has a right to have a doctor (an independent medical examiner) of its own choice examine the injured worker. The logic of this general rule cannot be questioned. However the manner in which so-called “independent medical examinations” (IMEs) are carried out is often fraught with controversy, and it’s important that you know that you can refuse to see a certain IME in certain circumstances!
Although 5 years ago, it is worth re-publishing that The Hon. A. Bressington stated she had been approached by a number of constituents on WorkCover, who have been required by their case manager to appear before Dr Doron Samuell, a fly-in “independent medical examiner” from New South Wales. Each has alleged that the behaviour of Dr Samuell was intimidating and bullying, that he inappropriately filmed meetings without seeking their permission, that there was yelling and finger-pointing, and that he behaved in a threatening manner towards the injured workers.
WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) regularly “review the quality” of Reports obtained from Independent Medical Examiners (IMEs) through what is called the Quality Assurance Program (QAP). Although theoretically a “reassuring” program, don’t be fooled!
We believe that one of the most difficult problems with the current workcover Independent Examination system is that there is usually no way for an injured worker to know the full history of the IME doctor who is performing the examination. For example, if a certain IME doctor has been the subject of multiple complaints, the injured worker has (generally) no way to know about these previous complaints. This is also the reason why we started our IME list.
A journalist working for a well-known TV Channel is working on a story and came across our site. S/he is looking for teachers that have been assessed by two well known (notorious) IME psychiatrists.
Many IME Psychiatrists, even those who testify for workcover insurers avoid diagnosing psychological / psychiatric conditions related to injured workers’ trauma. They generally do this by deliberately avoiding any tests that were designed to assess the injured worker’s mental condition in question. Is it any wonder the IME finds no evidence of for example, PTSD or major depression when s/he doesn’t even test for it?