In IME news:

North Dakota is facing criticism from employee groups, claimant attorneys and other parties for its IME statistics. A study by Sedgwick found that 75% of independent medical examinations in the state were decided in favor of payers with most exams initiated on the grounds of whether or not a claim was compensable (i.e. the injured workers’ employment caused 50% or more of the injury.) Sedgwick presented the report to the state’s Legislature this week, specifically for the benefit of the interim Workers’ COmpensation Review Committee. The study findings are significant primarily because North Dakota has a state fund which holds a monopoly on workers’ comp insurance and because North Dakota consistently has very high rates of worker fatality, currently the highest in the nation at 17.7 fatalities per 100,000 workers (latest data: 2012.) State IMEs are performed by two companies, Examworks and Evalumed, both based out of North Dakota. Sedgwick also cites the fact that the state find has not attempted to fund IME companies within the state’s borders since 2010. Read the full report from WorkCompCentral here. Read the Sedgwick study and recommendations here.