Insurance companies and the Courts seek unbiased assessments by doctors (MD’s or PhD’s) for the purposes of determining many issues related to a particular claim. These assessments, called Independent Medical Examinations (IME’s), serve a vital role for both the claimant and the insurer.
WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR TO DO IME’S?
Most of the time, IME’s are conducted by specialists certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. In the realm of personal injury or disability claims, the opinions from many different fields might be required. The most common fields from which opinions are sought are physiatry (physical medicine & rehabilitation), orthopedics, neurology, pain medicine, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, occupational medicine, and psychiatry. Other fields might also be crucial in various claims, such as radiology, plastic surgery, rheumatology, internal medicine, addiction medicine, neurosurgery, pediatrics, vascular surgery, and sleep disorder medicine.
In addition, in chronic pain and traumatic brain injury cases, the opinions of psychologists and neuropsychologists are invaluable.
HOW DOES ONE ENSURE IMPARTIALITY?
Such reports could be provided to an insurer, or to plaintiff or defense attorneys involved in the case. In order to be independent, the assessor must not have a treating relationship with the claimant and should be neutral and not an advocate for any party. For an IME report to be admissible in Court in BC, for example, it should have a statement such as, “In accordance with Rule 11(2), I certify that in providing my opinion to the Court my duty is to assist the Court, not to be an advocate for any party. I have prepared my report in accordance with this rule and, if I am called upon to give oral or written evidence, I will do so in conformity with my duty as an expert witness.” The exact statement will vary province-to-province, but the essence should reflect this sentiment.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF A GOOD IME?
The issues covered in a typical IME report should include diagnosis, treatment recommendations, a statement of causation (if a personal injury case), prognosis, and an opinion regarding the presence or absence of disability. The latter could include opinions related to self care (activities of daily living, or ADL’s), vocation, domestic duties, and avocational activities.
Each IME performed for Hippocrates Medical Assessments (HMA) will be screened for quality control, checking that the above issues have been addressed and the questions from the referring party answered, before sending it on to the insurer or law firm. Ultimately, the responsibility falls with the specialist though, who might have to defend their opinion in Court.
OFFICE SPACE/SECRETARIAL SUPPORT FOR IME’S
We do have some examination facilities available for IME physicians in Vancouver (including those coming to BC from other provinces to do IME’s), some of whom may not have offices available for this form of work. In certain circumstances, a secretary or clinic nurse can be made available to greet the claimant upon arrival at the office and/or serve as a chaperone.
IME PHYSICIANS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS
If you would like more information about doing IME’s for HMA, please contact us and we would be happy to help. Otherwise, press the button below to join our roster of quality IME physicians and psychologists.
As our medical director, Dr. Mark Crossman, is a physiatrist with more than 25 years’ experience in conducting IME’s, he is very aware of your needs and frustrations.
INSURERS AND LAW FIRMS
We are also available to answer any questions you may have. In addition to assisting you with your claim via IME bookings (our specialty), we welcome you to explore our website to see our other provided services.
For your convenience, click the button below to refer a claim through our confidential eClaim system.