How to File an IME Complaint

doc1How to file a complaint against an Independent Medical Examiner (IME):

The Department’s website states “IMEs should provide unbiased, accurate and comprehensive information and be carried out with dignity and respect for the worker.” Unfortunately, many IME providers have not read the Department’s website.

I frequently review the Department’s files on IMEs and I am always surprised how few complaints are filed, particularly for some of the more notorious IMEs.

Complaints about the examiner’s conduct or the examination itself should be sent to one of the following:

Mr. Gary Walker
IME Quality Assurance
Provider Review and Education Unit
Department of Labor and Industries
PO Box 44322
Olympia, WA 98504-4322
360.902.6818

OR for Self-Insured Claims:

Ms. Carol Wynegar
Self-Insured Quality Assurance
Department of Labor and Industries
PO Box 44890
Olympia, WA 98504-4890

You can file a complaint by simply writing down your concerns or by completing the Department’s “Independent Medical Comments Form,” which can be found by clicking this link: http://www.lni.wa.gov/pdf/245053a0.pdf.

The Department keeps the complaints in a file for each doctor. The Department seems to take these complaints seriously, once there are several regarding a particular examiner.

When filing a complaint, provide the examiner’s name (if known), date of exam, your name and claim number. Be courteous, factual and detailed in your complaint. For example, you may say something like “I had to wait 35 minutes for a rushed 5 minute exam. The doctor was rude and discourteous making comments that I am lazy and trying to work the system, accused me of lying and kept cutting me off when I tried to answer his questions. He did not want to look at the radiological films I brought, and pushed my arms (legs, knees, hips, etc) to increase my range of motion, causing significant pain that lasted for days.”

Attached is a letter from the Department to a frequent IME, providing an example of injured workers’ complaints and the Department’s response. Dr. Sims chose to stop performing IMEs for the Department rather than complete the necessary steps to be reinstated.

IMEs that act unprofessionally and rush through exams can cause significant harm to you and other injured workers over many years. Unless injured workers file complaints, this callous behavior and misconduct will continue. By filing complaints with the Department, you are protecting many future injured workers from this doctor. Additionally, these examiners should not get away with this type of behavior.

Dane D. Ostrander, Attorney at Law
Williams, Wyckoff & Ostrander, PLLC

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