Home > Uncategorized > Then the QME Said “LOL. U R P&S” or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Telemedicine

Then the QME Said “LOL. U R P&S” or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Telemedicine

Hello dear readers!

Your humble blogger brings you greetings and trusts your week has gone well: claims denied, URs upheld, and 5710 fees disputed.

An interesting thing happened on one of your humble blogger’s panels: There was an asterisk next to the name of one of the PQMEs listed on a panel with the words “via telemedicine.”

Fortunately, the parties had elected to use an AME before this panel even issued, but what fun it would have been to litigate this issue and its implications!

Anywho, WorkCompCentral reports that the DWC has allowed this QME to conduct telemedicine examinations, with a medical professional physically next to the injured worker to conduct the measurements and guide the exam, and the evaluation would be conducted in real time over Skype or some other teleconferencing method.

Your humble blogger anticipates a typical medical-legal exam conducted via telemedicine will look something like this:

The buzz around the copy rooms at the various workers’ compensation Boards and among the voices inside your humble blogger’s head ask whether this is a good idea.

I would submit that, if done properly, this can actually be a pretty good thing.  There is a benefit to expediting resolution of claims by allowing QME flexibility and availability.

What would be great about the video-conferencing is that the QMEs would become more available to do exams.  My current record is going through 4 panels before the last QME standing was able to timely set an appointment, and each new panel typically adds a month of delay as the medical unit must process the request.

Audio and video recording of evaluations would also benefit the truth (there’s a camera running anyway) so that we would know exactly what was said and the full range of motion taken or grip strength etc.  It would also be fantastic to not have to doubt about accurate communication between QME and injured worker, or accurate recording by the QME into his or her report.

We also wouldn’t have to doubt how much time was actually spent conducting the examination (sometimes QMEs overcharge; other times applicants claim the QME only spent 30 minutes face-to-face and so couldn’t possibly have written a good report).

Now here’s the downside: how are you going to depose the good doctor after this quack report upsets the perfect theory you had developed for your client’s path to victory at the outset of the case?  You can bet dollars to donuts he has no interest in flying from Doctortopia to Lawyer Island just to be challenged on his opinions, formulated as they were on nothing more than his “training and experience.”  And if you think teleconferencing is going to work for a deposition, try handing Exhibit A to the nice man in the white coat on the screen (I’ve tried, it and it doesn’t work).

There’s no indication just yet that we’re going to have widespread skype evaluations anytime soon, but it’s certainly a proposition that warrants exploration.

What do you think, dear readers?  Are there gains to be made here by turning the sacred ritual of the medical legal-exam into a litigated version of Saturday morning cartoons?  Or, is this Pandora’s box, soon to relieve all of us of our livelihoods?

Have a great weekend!

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