Rules Change: Communications between IME Doctors and IME entities

A common practice – communications with IME doctors by the contracting entities that send them cases – is falling under increased scrutiny after the WCB banned virtually all verbal communications between the doctors and the IME entities.
Employer IMEs have been facilitated by a group of regulated ‘Independent Medical Examination ‘brokers’ known as IME entities for years. These entities act as go-betweens – findings doctors to perform IMEs, collecting the relevant medical records for the doctor’s review, sending scheduling notices, and collecting the final reports of the physicians to provide those reports to the WCB and the employer (or carrier).
This process necessarily injects the IME entity into the mix: they coordinate communications with the doctors and are intimately involved in selecting physicians. The entities have also been called in question for practices where they are generating reports for the doctors to sign – commonly ‘transcribing’ the doctors own notes or taped exams. In some instances the IME entities have been accused of generating reports that differ from the doctor’s findings and “changing” IME reports after the doctor has signed off on the report.
This summer the WCB banned all oral communications between IME entities and the examining physicians – and allowing for all written communications between the parties to be part of the WCB record. This move, coupled with the new IME report form (discussed in out last newsletter) is expected to reduce claims that IME reports are ‘tampered with’ by the IME entities entrusted with facilitating those examinations.

Greg Lois is the managing partner of LOIS LLC and dedicates his practice to defending employers and carriers in New York and New Jersey workers' compensation claims. Greg is the author of a popular series of "Handbooks" on workers' compensation, and is the co-author of the 2016 & 2017 Lexis-Nexis New Jersey Workers' Compensation Practice Guide. Greg can be reached at 201-880-7213 or glois@loisllc.com