Defense medical examinations, also known as IMEs, performed by Central New York doctors working for insurance companies are were recently the subject of a statewide investigation conducted by the New York Times.
According to a New York Times review of workers’ compensation case files, medical records, and patient interviews, “independent medical examinations” and the reports that follow are are frequently conducted or prepared in a fashion that benefits insurers by minimizing injuries or by attributing injuries to some other cause or event. Unlike a visit to a treating physician, an IME physician may meet with an injured worker for less than ten minutes. During that ten minute period, the IME doctor may take an abbreviated history, skim medical records, perform a very limited physical examination and send the patient on his or her way without an ounce of compassion. After that examination, the majority of IME reports conclude that the patient is not injured or, if injured, is not disabled.
Many refer to Syracuse-area IME doctors as “Dr. No” or “Dr. Says-No,” because no matter how badly injured, certain doctors will consistently find no injury or no disability. The New York Times interviewed Dr. Alan Zimmerman, an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Queens, New York. According to Dr. Zimmerman, “[b]asically, if you haven’t murdered anyone and you have a medical license, you get certified.” Dr. Zimmerman added that its “clearly a nice was to semi-retire.” Dr. Zimmerman, 75, conducts orthopedic IMEs.
IME examinations are very profitable for doctors (some earning nearly $1,000,000 per year performing examinations and testifying in court), and were poorly regulated until 2001. In 2000, a Long Island doctor conducted five IMEs in a Long Island bar. Some examiners, of course, do furnish honest examinations.
A small study conducted a few years ago at the Central New York Occupational Health Clinical Center in Syracuse, New York, revealed that the clinic’s treating physicians and local independent medical examiners almost always disagreed on whether an injured worker was disabled.
The trial lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict all types accident and injury cases, including those arising out of construction site accidents, industrial accidents, jobsite and workplace accidents, falls, scaffolding and structural failures, and car, SUCV, bus and tractor trailer accident. If you or a loved one have been injured, or have lost a loved one due to a work injury or serious accident, you and/or your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York catastrophic injury attorney contact Bottar Leone, PLLC now at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.