Independent medical examiner
Independent medical examiners are registered medical practitioners who provide impartial medical assessments.
The worker, worker's legal representative or the insurer can request an independent medical examination.
A referral for an independent medical examination occurs when medical information is inadequate, unavailable or inconsistent, and the referrer has been unable to resolve the problem directly with the practitioners involved.
The role of the independent medical examiner
Independent medical examiners do not provide advice to workers about their condition, treatment or workers compensation claim.
The independent medical examiner's report may include advice on accepting a claim, the insurer's ongoing liability and the worker's level of capacity for employment and ongoing treatment.
If they believe another type of treatment might assist the worker, they will mention it in their report and may contact the worker's nominated treating doctor to discuss treatment options.
The independent medical examiner report is forwarded to the person who requested it.
Worker obligations when attending an independent medical examination
A worker will receive a letter outlining the reason for the examination, the appointment details and expected travel costs at least ten working days before the appointment.
Some medical examiners may choose to video or audio record the examination. The recording of the examination is only to proceed if the worker consents.
Where it is the medical examiner's routine practice to record the examination, the worker must be informed of this and be in agreement prior to the examination being scheduled.
If a worker fails to attend an independent medical examination, their weekly payments of compensation may be suspended.
Fees for independent medical examiners
Payments for independent medical examinations must be in accordance with the gazetted fees in the medical examinations and reports fees order that are current at the time of assessment.
Should a worker have a complaint about an independent medical examiner they should contact the referrer in the first instance who will attempt to resolve the complaint for the worker.
At any time the worker can contact the SIRA Workers Compensation Customer Service Centre on 13 10 50, their union or legal representative. The worker might also like to contact the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office.
Call 13 10 50 for further information about independent medical examiners.