NPR/ProPublica has released another investigative article regarding state-based workers’ comp systems and benefit reductions. This edition, “Employers and Insurers Gain Control in Workers’ Compensation Disputes,” addresses independent medical exams. The report is especially critical of California’s new IMR processes, created under the landmark SB 863 in 2012. The investigators note, “In California, these ‘independent medical reviewers’ don’t have to be licensed in the state and don’t have to examine injured workers. They can make decisions based only on medical records. These doctors can remain anonymous, can’t be challenged (except for fraud, conflict of interest or mistakes of fact) and have the final word.” The report offers the stories of two injured workers, one with complex regional pain syndrome and one who became a quadriplegic in a trucking accident, to illustrate the criticisms.
Read the article here.