What is Certified Independent Medical Examiner
Disability Evaluating Specialist?
Through the last decade an increased demand for independent medical evaluations has precipitated the need for quality medical evaluations.
Fueled by monetary consideration, that is cost of
Workers’ Compensation and other disability benefits which total billions of dollars per year, insurance companies, Workers’ Compensation Commissions, employers and attorneys (defense and plaintiff) are continuously seeking independent medical examiners to assess challenging cases, and the demand for these evaluations has been rising.
In order to control costs, medical provider quality and reliability is being closely scrutinized, and biased, inadequate and/or superficial medical examinations are less acceptable in today’s competitive market place. Increasingly the focus of quality not only is mandated by law but also benefits the individual client and the public at large.
The American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians (AADEP) is an international organization, begun in 1986, which focuses on the need to establish a standardized approach to the identification, evaluation and rating of impairment and disability.
Disability evaluation transcends the specialties of individual health care practitioners, and physicians must build credentials through additional study, certification and continuing skill development.
New research studies, done by disability evaluating colleagues, in changing environmental and demographic factors all have some impact on the development of this medical specialty. Government regulations, dynamic technology issues and managed care also change the practice of disability medicine and influence the way physicians practice their specialties and understand the causative factors of disability and/or impairment.
Within the last several years the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners (ABIME) has become the quality assurance organization incorporated to establish national, uniform standards of competency for licensed physicians who conduct independent medical examinations. The ABIME‘s Board of Directors includes physicians from multiple disciplines who regulate the application and examination process. Physicians who meet stringent criteria for education, training and experience must demonstrate competency by successfully completing ABIME’s rigorous, four hour certification examination. The Certified Independent Medical Examiner (CIME) certification is then valid for five years.
Eligibility requirements for IME candidates include:
A current, unrestricted medical license.
A record clear of any disciplinary action imposed by a State Medical Board within the past five years.
Board Certification in a medical specialty recognized by The American Board of Medical Specialties or The American Osteopathic Association or having practiced medicine ten years including residency years.
Completion of continuing medical education in the performance of independent medical examinations and impairment evaluation within three years prior to taking the examination (continuing medical education and fellowship through the AADEP and other national disability organizations) .
A signed agreement to abide by the ABIME code of conduct.
ABIME certified physicians possess:
Necessary medical skills and training in physical, behavioral, psychological and occupational assessment.
Draw upon an in-depth experience to perform creditable evaluations.
Provide thorough, objective, written analyses regarding diagnoses, causation, prognoses, maximum medical improvement, impairment, work capacity, appropriateness of care and care management.
Testify as an expert medical witness.
Recognize the value of impartiality and thoroughness in case evaluation.
Strive to conduct timely, cost effective evaluations.
Abide by ABIME and AMA codes of conduct in ethical practice.
Exhibit commitment to professional excellence and integrity.
Source of information for this article: American Board of Independent Medical Examiners news release 3/23/98 and American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians twelfth annual scientific session with certification review course.
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