An editorial in the Journal of Medical Toxicology entitled “Fear Not the IME” calls for toxicologists to consider getting involved in an IME practice.
Here is what the editorial had to say about The Business of Independent Medical Exams:
Billing is based on time spent working on the case. The hourly rate you charge for chart review, examination, report writing and revision, as well as time spent in court should be established up front, in writing. When determining this rate, do not be shy. Medical toxicologists are highly qualified to perform these exams when the question being asked is toxicologic in nature.
For practitioners that routinely perform IMEs, this type of examination can provide a substantial revenue stream. One medical toxicology group sees one to two IME examinees per month and this makes up about 10% of their clinic revenue, not including charges for deposition or court appearances. An occupational medicine physician I spoke with reports 90% of his clinic volume and nearly 100% of his clinic revenue is from IMEs.
Learning how to perform an IME is important for many reasons: learning the basics will make you feel more comfortable and medical toxicologists need to take ownership of this—who else is better trained to do this? Also, the IME allows for a new revenue source when our budgets are threatened. It is our responsibility to accept this part of our practice and ensure, at a minimum, our fellows receive adequate training and are provided the resources to excel in this particular area of professional service.