L&I plans stakeholder meetings to address high cancellation rates for IME caused by recording laws

May 2, 2024
Written by WR Communications

In 2023, legislation passed HB 1068 allowing workers to request that they can bring a third party to video record their independent medical examinations (IME). Washington Labor & Industries (L&I) relies on the Attorney General’s Office for their interpretation on the right to record being granted to the worker’s rather than the provider.

Sadly, L&I’s data presented to the Workers Compensation Advisory Committee on March 28 shows substantial increases in delays and cancellations of IME’s since this legislation became effective on July 23, 2023.

  • IMEs with recording requests experienced a 30% to 60% cancellation rate compared to the average cancellation rate of 7.5% for IMEs without recording requests before and after the effective date of this legislation.
  • The highest rate of IME recording requests by specialty is psychiatry (14% compared to a range of 5% to 9% for other specialties). During hearings, testimonies from psychiatrists have stated that having a third-party in the room would compromise the code of ethics in their specialty.
  • 86% of claims with IME’s rescheduled for recording reasons are represented by law firms. In comparison, only 29% of claims with IMEs rescheduled for non-recording reasons have attorneys.

Overall, the cancellation rate of IMEs with recording requests is 17% whereas the cancellation rate for IMEs based on a random selection of claims is 11%

L&I recognizes that a serious problem is emerging and is attempting to craft some kind of solution to the adverse impact on workers’ recovery and rising claim costs. L&I is scheduling “listening sessions” with stakeholders over the next few weeks.

The employer’s listening session is scheduled for May 7th from 9:30 to 11 am, in person at L&I’s Tumwater Headquarters or via zoom, with the following login credentials:  https://lni-wa-gov.zoom.us/j/86703201890?pwd=S21FWmszcVprVzJ3c29DOGt2MERVZz09

Meeting ID: 867 0320 1890

Passcode: f5uH^!$v

WR intends to work with all stakeholders to create solutions to the concerning data trend.


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