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Independent Medical Examination Reforms Become Law

Senate Bill 311 was signed into law on July 29, 2005. It will be implemented in steps. It will be fully functional on July 1, 2006. The legislation is summarized here. There are hearings taking place to implement administrative rules. The IME doctors and their hired guns are pushing hard to weaken the legislation as intended while we fight for Oregon workers.

IMEs are used by insurers and self-insured employers in workers' compensation and elsewhere to deny new injury claims and to close open ones. Each claim closure can take over a year to reverse, if reversed at all. During the appeal process, wage loss benefits end and time sensitive surgery is denied. One goal of IME-caused delays is to "starve-out" people physically, financially, and emotionally so they'll walk away or settle claims for much less than lifetime injury-related expenses.

Oregon government released a 271-page Independent Medical Examination Study on December 2, 2004 (linked below). It's nothing short of a wholesale indictment of IME's. Even 53 percent of IME practitioners admitted that Independent Medical Examinations are not in fact "independent."

Read the state's Independent Medical Exams Study (2.27MB, free Adobe Acrobat Reader required)   KATU: Dealing With SAIF - Sick and feeling like a criminal. Windows Media Player - (Report 1) (Report 2)
View statements by IME Study participants (There are many derogatory statements about IME's)   Statesman Journal, June 29: Bill reforming workers' compensation medical exams advances
Steve Duin of The Oregonian: Worked over by the workers' comp system   The Oregonian, July 18: Bill may ease job injury claims
Steve Duin of The Oregonian: Sing it again, Saif: Denied, denied, denied   Statesman Journal, July 19: Bill changes system for hurt workers
Northwest Labor Press, August 5: New law targets workers’ comp doctor abuses

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Worker-Requested Medical Examinations
Under certain circumstances, the Worker’s Compensation Division will choose a physician to provide an impartial exam. One example would be if your claim was denied based on one or more independent medical examinations. Learn more here.

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