Q. The insurer's independent medical examination (IME) has released the employee to return to work with restrictions, but the treating doctor has said "no work." Can the QRC proceed with placement services?
A. The definition of a "qualified employee" anticipates that the QRC consider the treating physician's opinion of the employee's work ability in conjunction with the provision of rehabilitation services. An IME physician is not a primary health care provider as defined in Minnesota Rules 5221.0430, Subp. 1. The health care provider directs and coordinates medical care for the employee; the IME physician is not a health care provider and provides no medical care on behalf of the employee.
Because an independent medical examination is part of claims adjustment, a QRC should not use the IME report recommendations to develop or implement the rehabilitation plan (Minnesota Rules 5220.1801, Subp. 8B).
If the insurer wants the IME report recommendations used to develop or implement the rehabilitation plan, the insurer may file a Rehabilitation Request form with the department. If ordered by a mediator/arbitrator or compensation judge, the QRC must then follow the IME physical restrictions.