Integral is building a panel of providers in a range of specialties and jurisdictions who are equipped to perform Telemedicine independent medical examinations and we have have scheduled a set of Telemedicine IMEs to take place in downstate New York in May 2020.
Telemedicine IMEs are usually not preferable as opposed to an in-person examination if an in-person exam is possible, but an examination by video conference when combined with a thorough review of the medical records can be better than no IME at all or a Record Review alone, and in the current situation with COVID-19 lockdown in place, in certain areas it is not possible to have an in-person IME conducted.
We are working with our panel providers to supply both a professional and secure videoconferencing platform, as well as the tools necessary for the examining provider to be able to conduct as thorough and credible exam as is possible.
Telemedicine IMEs may also be of use even after Coronavirus lockdowns have been relaxed, depending on the state jurisdiction, as some states may not consider IMEs to be essential, even after some other activities are allowed.
We also suggest that Telemed IME could be offered as an alternative to in-person exams for examinees who are reluctant to appear in person due to concerns about virus exposure through traveling to an exam. An in-person IME can be scheduled with an option given to the examinee to have the exam be done by videoconference at the claimant’s choice. In certain cases, this could help assure that some form of IME takes place to help manage the claim.
An interpreter can be arranged to participate in videoconference IMEs for claimants where there is a language barrier.
The use of Telemed IMEs is not currently allowed in all claim types and jurisdictions, and is specifically not allowed by the New York State Workers Compensation Board, but they could very well be part of the new normal in the future and we will continue to move forward on making them available when and where they may be of use.