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New Solut. 2004;14(3):219-51.

Independent of what? The independent medical examination business.

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CNYOHCC, Syracuse, NY 13211, USA.


Workers suffering from a work-related health condition frequently are required to undergo examination by a physician chosen by the employer or a Workers' Compensation Insurance Carrier. While the opinions of physicians performing these "Independent Medical Examinations" (IMEs) have been criticized as biased by a conflict of interest, IME advocates assert that the methods used by the IME result in an objective and superior opinion. This article explores this claim to objectivity and superiority. It argues that pro-employer/carrier bias is embedded in the methodology IMEs advocate, and that the practical impact of the IME approach is to reduce the recognition of occupationally related health conditions and to minimize the disability associated with such conditions. The IME approach is more accurately characterized as a tool to standardize a product that can be marketed to corporate clients, rather than a way to precisely assess work-related health conditions.

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