Independent Medical Evaluations

As a Board-Certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Cohen has the ideal qualifications to provide thorough, objective Independent Medical Evaluations (IMEs) for work-related injuries such as lacerations, burns, scarring, as well as hand and wrist injuries. Dr. Cohen has performed many IMEs during his medical career and has been accepted as an expert in plastic surgery in Maryland, Virginia, D.C., and the Federal courts.

Amy Johnston, RN, MBA, CCM serves as Dr. Cohen’s IME liaison. Amy has worked in workers’ compensation claims and field case management for nearly twenty years in the greater DMV area and throughout Virginia.

What is a Plastic Surgery Independent Medical Examination?
A plastic surgery Independent Medical Examination (IME) occurs when a plastic surgeon examines a patient and their medical records for the purpose of providing an expert medical opinion on the patient’s health, generally with relation to a work-related accident. Importantly, the doctor must not have previously treated the patient, hence the examination being ‘independent’.

When are Plastic Surgery Independent Medical Examinations required?
An Independent Medical Examination (IME) may be requested for several reasons and by several different parties. They are most often requested by insurance carriers, attorneys, and employers, but may also be requested by the patient or the patient’s attorney. The intended purpose of an IME is usually to answer a question, such as the cause of the condition or injury, if the patient has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), the patient’s functional capabilities, and/or if previous medical treatment was reasonable and appropriate, and future treatment projections.

Plastic Surgery Independent Medical Examinations and Workers’ Compensation
In most states, employers and workers’ compensation carriers are only required to cover the cost of an employee’s medical treatment if the major contributing cause is work-related. For this reason, many Independent Medical Evaluations are requested in order to determine a causal relationship between the employee’s functional capacity and a work-related injury. In the world of plastic surgery, a plastic surgeon may be asked if the scar on a patient is likely the result of a workplace accident (e.g., a dog bite on a postal worker). They may also be asked to provide an estimate of the cost to return the patient to their pre-accident condition, or to assess if the patient has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).

Is the doctor required to see the patient?
Yes, in order to conduct an IME, the doctor is required to see the patient in order to medically examine them. Note: This is one of the ways an IME differs from a Plastic Surgery Peer Review.

Can the doctor perform an IME on his/her own patient?
No. A plastic surgery Independent Medical Examination must be exactly that – “independent”. The doctor selected for the IME should not have any previous treatment history with the patient.

How to schedule a Plastic Surgery Independent Medical Examination?
To schedule an Independent Medical Evaluation, please contact us.