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Under Iowa law, the employer has the right to choose the medical care to be provided to the injured worker, provided that it is reasonably suited to the situation. Click to go to the page on Medical Care. However, the agency can change those decisions.
At the point that the employer’s doctor has determined if there is any permanent impairment as a result of the work injury, the worker has the right to an examination by the doctor of his or her choice, for the purpose of determining the nature and extent of any permanent impairment, at the employer’s expense. See Section 85.39 of the Iowa Code .
The employer and insurance carrier or administrator does not have any say in the choice of the doctor for the Independent Medical Examination, or IME. Sometimes they will suggest someone to perform the examination, but they have a vested interest in the results of the examination, so many insurance people avoid making such a recommendation because it presents a conflict of interest. The injured worker can choose any doctor from any area of practice. Obviously, however, if the doctor is of the wrong area of practice, the opinion will not be very convincing at hearing. Therefore, the choice of the doctor to perform the IME is extremely important.
Click here to see the form for requesting an Independent Medical Examination. However, choice of the examiner is crucial to the case, and an incorrect choice can cause great difficulty later. Therefore, such a choice should not be made without the advice of an attorney who is well-experienced in this area of the law.
85.39 Examination of injured employees.
[Second paragraph] “If an evaluation of permanent disability has been made by a physician retained by the employer and the employee believes this evaluation to be too low, the employee shall, upon application to the commissioner and upon delivery of a copy of the application to the employer and its insurance carrier, be reimbursed by the employer the reasonable fee for a subsequent examination by a physician of the employee’s own choice, and reasonably necessary transportation expenses incurred for the examination. The physician chosen by the employee has the right to confer with and obtain from the employer-retained physician sufficient history of the injury to make a proper examination.”
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