You can protest the IME. However, I would talk to an attorney to ensure you have all your facts covered. Get a statement, in writing from your witness, and prepare your statement as well. You can complain to L&I before a decision is reached by the IME doctor or you can wait until you see the reports contents. I am of the mind that you immediately send in your statement and your witnesses statement. Then if the exam is favorable, you do not have to worry about it. It also gives more validity to your complaints latter on.
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This is the nature of L&I exams. It is a wake up call for many honest and seriously injured workers when they find out that these exams are not independent, are not kind or gentle, and are performed by doctors who are trained to limit or end care, reject conditions, and limit or stop necessary and reasonable benefits. I am sorry to hear about your experience. If you, like so many, were not treated fairly, then excercise your rights as Drew suggested. Have your doctor correct the exam findings and conclusions, complain to the DLI and share your experience with others online. Learn more about the system. Knowledge is power.
Generally the Department or self-insured employer will send a copy of the IME report to your attending physician [AP] and ask the AP no concur. Be sure to contact your AP right away and ask your AP to not respond until the AP reviews the IME report with you. Your AP also has the right to schedule you with a consulting doctor of the AP's choice pursuant to WAC 296-20-051.
This would be a good time to contact a competent local workers' compensation attorney for a free initial consultation.
In addition to the excellent advice I see here already, you may also choose to forward your and your witness' statements to the Department's IME Quality Assurance representative. It is her job to make sure that IMEs are doing their job. This may not solve your individual problem, but if enough injured workers complain about the same IMEs, action may be taken. I am sorry that this happened to you; I only wish I could say I was surprised. Your letter may be sent to :
Carol Britton, RN, BSN, MBA
IME Quality Assurance
Provider Credentialing & Compliance
PO Box 44322
Olympia, WA 98504-4322
This response is meant to be informational only and should not be considered legal advice. This information is neither meant to be nor should it be construed to be the establishment of an attorney client relationship. I work in the area of Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability in Washington state.
Although you could document your disagreement with the DME's findings, the report itself is not appealable. Only if L&I acts on the report to your detriment would I advise you to protest or appeal. And your own Doctor may do that for you. In a DME vs treating Dr. smackdown, treating Dr. usually wins...
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