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The independent medical evaluation (IME) is performed to obtain unbiased medical information concerning the psychiatric and/or medical impairment present in an individual, the evaluee. A third party, the client is requesting the IME. The client is usually an employer, an insurance company or an attorney. An independent physician who is not involved in the examinee's medical care performs the IME. The sole purpose of the IME is to provide the client with the examiner's unbiased medical opinion concerning the evaluee. The purpose is not to provide medical care to the evaluee. The client may use the resulting medical opinion as one source of information out of many in administrative proceedings concerning an employee's ability to work, or the degree of psychiatric impairment present, or the presence of disability or psychiatric damage in legal proceedings. The examiner owes an ethical duty to both parties to be fair, objective, accurate and impartial, as well as to honor the parties' respective legal rights and interests.
The psychiatric assessment of a disability claim evaluates the assertion by an individual of an inability to work at their customary occupation. Disability claimants range from those with psychiatric illness that result in severe functional impairment to claimants who may be exaggerating or feigning mental illness. An IME is conducted to determine the cause and extent of a potential work-related injury or impairment. Part of the report opines about the kind of medical treatment required for this condition. If the examinee has been receiving medical treatment, the examiner assesses the necessity, appropriateness and quality of the treatment received, as well as if treatment should continue and whether or not the treatment has been beneficial. It is important to determine whether or not the evaluee has reached maximum benefit from the treatment received, and whether or not any permanent impairment remains after treatment.
In evaluating disability claims, the examiner conducts an assessment based upon careful consideration of the history provided by the evaluee, the data derived from the evaluating physician's examination of the evaluee, the documents provided by the client about the evaluee, and the results of the assessments of the evaluee's psychiatric condition as well as the level of functioning. These are analyzed to determine the cause and extent of any impairment present and the quality of medical treatment received by the examinee for this impairment. The completed IME is the synthesis and integration of the information obtained from all available sources to provide a professional psychiatric opinion concerning the diagnosis, etiology and presence of functional limitations present with supporting rationale. This results in a formal psychiatric diagnosis, a determination of the presence or absence of functional impairment in the evaluee and recommendations to assist the client in the process of making administrative decisions concerning the employee's eligible for initiating or continuing disability benefits. These findings and conclusions are provided to the client in a written report.