Workers compensation can offer injured workers a way to get benefits that can help cover medical expenses and lost earnings. However, the application process in Oregon involves several steps where it is essential to follow technical requirements and meet deadlines.
One part of the process that often confuses applicants is the Independent Medical Examination. The following provides a basic outline of what this means and how it works. Your attorney can give you more detailed advice based on your case.
Do not ignore an IME notice
At some point, your employer’s insurance company can send you a notice scheduling an IME. The law requires you to attend this examination. If you skip it, the insurer may suspend benefits. You may also have to pay a fine to the Workers’ Compensation Division. When you receive the notice, be sure to check immediately for any scheduling conflicts you will not be able to solve. Let the insurer know you have a conflict and your reason for it, so the company can set up an alternative date.
Reimbursement for expenses
Traveling to the IME can cause inconvenience and expense for some. With your notice, you should also receive a form from the insurer you can fill out to request reimbursement for expenses such as travel or childcare. If you let the insurer know you need payment in advance, it will typically accommodate this request as well.
What happens during the IME
The insurer selects the doctor who will administer the IME. Typically, the doctor will review your medical records and conduct a physical exam. He or she will also ask questions about your injury, your treatment and your current symptoms.
There are some specific rules about performing invasive procedures in the course of the IME. For this purpose, any procedure where any type of instrument enters the body is considered invasive. The doctor must inform you of any risks the procedure presents. You have the right to refuse the procedure even if it does not present risks.