0

The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Ideas and Opinions |

Independent Medical Examinations: An Expanding Source of Physician Liability

Ken Baum, MD, JD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Wiggin and Dana LLP, New Haven, Connecticut.


Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Ken Baum, MD, JD, Wiggin and Dana LLP, 265 Church Street, New Haven, CT 06510; e-mail, kbaum@wiggin.com.


Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(12_Part_1):974-978. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-142-12_Part_1-200506210-00007
Text Size: A A A

Broadly defined, an independent medical examination (IME) is any health assessment conducted by a physician, not otherwise involved in the care or treatment of the patient, at the request of a third party that is not the physician's general employer. Most commonly, physicians conduct IMEs at the request of employers seeking to determine the health status of their employees, although the circumstances vary. Data are not available on the precise number of IMEs performed each year; however, given the vast number of employers and other interested third parties, it is safe to assume that they number in the tens of thousands, if not more. Yet few physicians appreciate the potential liability they incur as a result of such engagements. Many physicians believe that when they conduct examinations at the request of a hiring third party, as opposed to the patient, there is no physician–patient relationship and, hence, no potential malpractice liability. But as several courts have recently declared, it is not that simple.

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Re:Liability for IME doc's
Posted on February 9, 2012
Bruce G., Borkosky, psychologist
Independent Practice
Conflict of Interest: None Declared

What the authors are referring to is an expanding base of case law that opines 'if you add giving medical advice or treatment to the evaluation, then all those responsibilities to the patient (that you did not have when it was merely an evaluative relationship) come flying back in. I believe that's what they mean here - affirmative, as in, positive - giving of advice or treatment (as opposed to withhold advice or treatment). The case is numerous, and it is difficult to state with particularity what does, or does not, constitute treatment, because it is extremely dependent on the facts of each case. The authors are merely warning you that, if you start down that path, you can easily wind up in a treating relationship, with the concomitant responsibilities to the patient. Bruce Borkosky

Conflict of Interest:

none

Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)