When an employee is injured on the job, it can result in lost time and money in the day-to-day operations of your business. Worse yet, it might test your insurance coverage and result in a costly claim. Employees who are injured may seek medical treatment for themselves after an injury, but how do you know when they will be able to return to work?
Employees may not be forthcoming about the nature of their injuries or their plan for recovery. However, as their employer and the party responsible for a claim, you can request that employees receive an independent medical examination (IME). An IME can be done at an occupational health clinic and may be covered under your business insurance plan. During an IME, a physician may ask an employee about their pain level, executive functions and test their ability to perform certain tasks or movements.
How to request an IME for an employee
There are specific steps you must follow to schedule your employee for an IME. These steps include:
- Use the form prescribed by the State of New York Workers’ Compensation Board.
- Schedule an exam during normal business hours. You must also consider federal holidays or days that are important to an individual employee’s religious practices.
- Ensure an employee receives seven business days’ notice of their exam.
- Provide reasonable accommodations. For example, if an employee has access to a clinic that offers an IME at a place close to their home or your business, it could be scheduled there.
What you will learn from the exam
You should receive a copy of the examiner’s report no later than 10 business days after the employee’s appointment. Once you have a better understanding of the employee’s injury and their prognosis for recovery, you can continue to work with your insurance company, an IME physician and your employee to come up with a plan for returning to work if or when they are able.
If you are unsure of what to do in a specific circumstance, you should consult your insurance provider or an attorney to ensure that your actions will support your interest in the claim and comply with the law. Fostering a safe work environment and supporting your employees are critical steps in ensuring the success of your business.