Friday, November 20, 2009
The New Rule 8 on Insurance IME exams
If a claimant is being sent for an IME (Independent Medical Examination) by the insurance selected doctor then there is a new rule, effective November 1, 2009 that is applicable. The hew rule came about because of a new statutory provision which requires that these exams be audio recorded. The new rule is worth reading and allows discovery of the audio and more. The point in my view is to keep the exam honest and relevant so it allows the claimant some recourse to protect him or her from exams which contain irrelevant and confidential information that should be stricken. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time.
UPDATE December 2010: Received a recent comment that accused a Denver doctor, Dr F. of stopping the audio when she deemed it and specifically when she deemed the patient question as not valid enough. While I cannot post the comment without verification I certainly can say that once the audio starts I would consider any tampering with it as an improper alteration which violates the rule. That could mean striking the report is one option for a judge. I can say that insurance IME's can be very one sided. Claimants may not have the resources to obtain their own IME but insurers often can do so. For many it is not a level playing field although a Division IME set up through the state can be a very important added method of reviewing treatment, rating and more. The insurance IME (not the same as a Division IME) often, but not always, is looked at as a hired gun for the defense. At times I have seen insurance IME's provide a worthwhile opinion but that is the exception rather then the rule. By the way the statute at 8-43-304(2)(a) does say that it should not be construed to prohibit a party from making their own audio recording of the exam.