An Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) is a comprehensive report issued by a doctor who has not previously been involved in a person’s care, who examines an individual and reviews all the patient’s medical records, diagnostic testing, and testimony of other providers involved in the case. Often times, the IME physician is the only doctor who has reviewed the entire file of a patient. There is no doctor-patient relationship established with the patient when an IME is conducted.
IMEs can be ordered by an employer, an insurance carrier, nurse case manager, or an attorney to get a fresh perspective on the clinical status of an injured or ill individual.
IMEs are not only used to stop treatment or cut-off benefits, but to provide an objective outside opinion on a case that may lead to proper diagnosis and treatment of an injured or ill worker.
Dr. Fletcher is very experienced in conducting Independent Medical Evaluations. He takes pride in providing thorough reports that help resolve difficult, protracted, and mismanaged cases.
What are the benefits of an IME?
- Resolves a dispute, concern, or question regarding medical treatment and the condition of an injured person
- Helps uncover any roadblocks that prevents rapid case resolution
- Provides an objective-based opinion in a medical/legal case
- Determines an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan
- May uncover a missed or inappropriate diagnosis and helps devise a new treatment plan that assists in the recovery of an injured person
- Provides cost savings to prevent inappropriate treatment or wrong diagnosis
What does an IME try to achieve?
- Assesses causation to a reasonable degree of medical certainty
- Determines the nature and extent of a personal or work-related injury
- Clarifies the specific diagnosis associated with a case
- Assesses appropriateness and length of care
- Offers treatment recommendations when requested
- Determines whether an individual has reached maximum benefit from treatment
- Helps set target date for maximal medical improvement (MMI) status
- Assesses whether any permanent partial impairment (PPI) remains after treatment and if any permanent restrictions of activity are needed
- Specifies medical restrictions and appropriate work restrictions
What are the hallmarks of an excellent IME provider?
- Unbiased objectivity
- Consistency of approach including report format
- Board-certification in an American Board Medical Specialty (ABMS) related to issue at hand
- Willingness to stick neck out
- Timeliness of reports
- A practicing physician that treats or evaluates conditions which deal with the issue for the IME
What are the advantages of Dr. Fletcher?
Dr. Fletcher possesses the hallmarks of an excellent IME Provider. He has consistently done IMEs for both sides of the bar in Illinois Workers’ Compensation cases, as well as in civil cases.
For Dr. Fletcher, one of the key elements to his credibility is being a practicing occupational medicine specialist with admitting privileges to OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center (HMMC) in Urbana, IL, where he serves on the OSF Foundation Council. Another key element is his ability to manage complex workers’ compensation and personal injury cases as the primary gatekeeper from the start of each case until the injured patient has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). Since 1986, Dr. Fletcher has treated more than 19,000 injured persons.
In March 2009, Dr. Fletcher presented to Chicago Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Committee on “How to Get the Most Out of an IME: Problems and Pitfalls”.