Abstract

An independent medical evaluation (IME) may be more comprehensive and may contain more elements than an impairment evaluation, but to date no standards have defined a high-quality IME. The authors, a group of experienced IME physicians, note the variability of requirements in individual IME cases, but they have identified standards that generally apply to IME reports and include the following: definition of IME and key concepts; examiner qualifications; methodology and procedures; the physical examination; suggested generalized report format; and quality assurance. An IMR is a specialized examination and report, ideally performed by a medical physician with special training and experience in IMEs; an IME is not a medical consultation and report but rather an opportunity to determine diagnosis and document the clinical course over time. Examiners should be qualified by experience and qualifications and ideally should have a special credential from an independent medical examiners association and must be knowledgeable about IME report writing. A section of the article describes the structure of the IME report, which may vary from examiner to examiner but should include careful attention to descriptive data, history, record review, oral history, physical examination, records of other objective data, and an opinion section (with diagnoses, discussion, past medical treatment, maximum medical improvement, future medical treatment, causation and apportionment, disability/functional status, prognosis, answers to specific questions, and references.

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