What is an IME-RME?
An IME, which stands for independent medical examination, is an examination that is requested by employers in a workers’ compensation case when there is a question about the medical condition of a claimant. In Connecticut, these types of examinations are no longer refer to as IMEs, they are now called RMEs, which stands for respondent medical examinations.
An RME is requested by the claimant’s employer or their insurer usually to counter the examinations and opinions that an injured worker’s treating physician has generated. RMEs are often used when an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), at which point they usually receive some type of impairment or disability rating and there is often a dispute about the extent of their permanent disability.
Within the medical community, there is often a significant disagreement with regards to an injured worker’s disabilities. When this is the case, an RME is used by the respondent to obtain a “second opinion” from an examiner that is supposedly independent, but in reality, this examiner is more likely to render an opinion that is favorable to the respondent.
An RME might also be requested if the injured worker’s doctor is recommending surgery or another costly procedure. The opinion of the treating physician may be that a certain procedure is reasonably and medically necessary. But after the RME, the respondent’s examiner might state that the procedure will not benefit the patient, and therefore it is not recommended.
What Happens if the Opinions of the Treating Physician and RME Differ?
The results of a respondent medical exam can have a major impact on your workers’ compensation case. Workers’ comp commissioners often view RME doctors as more credible than a treating physician, even though this is often not the case.