What Role Do Imes Play In Return-To-Work Strategies?

Quick Overview:IMEs, or Independent Medical Examinations, play a crucial role in return-to-work strategies. They provide an objective assessment of an individual’s medical condition and functional abilities, helping employers and insurance companies make informed decisions about the employee’s ability to return to work. Here are five supporting facts about the role of IMEs in return-to-work strategies:

1. Objective Assessment: IMEs are conducted by independent healthcare professionals who assess the employee’s medical condition without any bias or influence from other parties involved. This ensures that the assessment is fair and unbiased.

2. Determining Fitness for Work: IMEs help determine whether an employee is fit to perform their job duties either fully or with reasonable accommodations. The examiner evaluates the employee’s physical capabilities, cognitive abilities, and overall health status to make this determination.

3. Identifying Restrictions and Limitations: IMEs identify any restrictions or limitations that may affect an employee’s ability to perform certain tasks at work. This information helps employers create suitable modified duty programs tailored to the individual’s specific needs.

4. Assessing Rehabilitation Progress: If an injured worker is undergoing rehabilitation treatment, IMEs can evaluate their progress and provide recommendations for further treatment if necessary.

5. Resolving Disputes: In cases where there are disagreements between parties regarding an individual’s ability to return to work, IMEs serve as a valuable tool for resolving disputes by providing an impartial evaluation of the situation based on medical evidence.


1) What jurisdiction governs the use of IMEs in return-to-work strategies?
In Canada, each province has its own legislation governing workers’ compensation claims and disability management processes which may include guidelines on using IMEs.

2) Who typically requests an IME?
Employers or insurance companies usually request an IME when they require additional information about a claimant’s medical condition before making decisions related to returning them back to work.

3) Can employees refuse to attend an IME?
Employees may have the right to refuse attending an IME, but this could have consequences such as delaying their claim or affecting their eligibility for benefits. It is advisable to consult with legal counsel before refusing.

4) How long does an IME report take to be completed?
The turnaround time for an IME report varies depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case and availability of medical records. Typically, it can range from a few days to a couple of weeks.

5) Can employees bring someone with them to the IME appointment?
In most cases, employees are allowed to bring a support person or advocate with them during the IME appointment if they wish. However, this may vary based on jurisdiction and individual circumstances.

6) What happens if there is a disagreement between the treating physician’s opinion and the IME findings?
When there is a discrepancy between opinions, employers or insurance companies often rely on additional expert reviews or seek mediation services in order to reach consensus regarding return-to-work decisions.

7) Are employees entitled to see the full contents of their IMEs?
In many jurisdictions, individuals have rights under privacy legislation that allow them access to their personal information held by organizations. This includes having access to relevant portions of their own IMEs upon request.

IMEs play a crucial role in return-to-work strategies by providing objective assessments of an employee’s medical condition and functional abilities. They help determine fitness for work, identify restrictions and limitations, assess rehabilitation progress, and resolve disputes related to returning individuals back into employment. While specific guidelines may vary across jurisdictions in Canada, understanding how these examinations contribute towards effective disability management can greatly benefit employers, insurance companies, and injured workers alike.