Independent medical exams (IME) help insurance companies determine the extent of a patient’s injuries following an accident. A peer review refers to a doctor, chiropractor, or other medical professional reviewing another health care provider’s records without the patient in attendance.
IMEs benefit injured plaintiffs and their attorneys because medical professionals understand what insurance companies are looking as to treatments, costs, degrees of disability, and medical records.
Most independent medical exams and peer reviews are performed when information is lacking in the records, such as:
- Abuse of disability (i.e., the patient is out of work for longer than what is recommended under official disability guidelines that insurance companies use).
- Extended period of treatment without specialist referral or further diagnostic testing to rule out complications or an underlying medical problem.
- Inconsistent treatment: If a patient does not show up for regular appointments, it suggests that perhaps the patient is not actually injured and does not need treatment.
Thorough patient records make it less likely that a case will require an IME or peer review. If patient records are incomplete, no referrals or diagnostic testing is performed for a more complicated case, and there are gaps in treatment, then more than likely, an IME or peer review will be recommended.
Dr. Amy Westrick, at Eastside Chiropractic Center, has been doing IME’s and peer reviews for over fifteen years and therefore understands what the insurance company is looking for in reports and treatment. This would be an advantage for both plaintiff and defense attorneys when seeking out a chiropractor either for their client or for a second opinion.