Colorado Legislative Council Staff
NO FISCAL IMPACT
Bill Status: Fiscal Analyst:
January 9, 1998
Senate Business Affairs
Will Meyer (866-4976)
TITLE: CONCERNING THE FINDINGS OF INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINERS IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS.
Summary of Assessment
The provisions of this bill would require that the findings of an independent medical examiner (IME) in a workers’ compensation claim be solely based upon the examination of the employee and medical records detailing treatment. The bill also would impose a penalty on any party or any person on behalf of a party who communicates or attempts to communicate with the independent medical examiner. The penalty for such communication would be $5,000 for each communication or attempted communication. The bill would become effective upon signature of the Governor.
Current statute authorizes the Division of Workers’ Compensation to administer the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act provides that such penalties would be deposited in the Workers’ Compensation Cash Fund. The bill would place limitations on the findings of an IME, limiting them to be solely based on the examination of the injured worker and the injured worker’s medical records obtained only from authorized treating physicians.
Current statute also authorizes the division to regulate the IME process by rule. The division has adopted a rule which states that, “During the IME process, there shall be no communication allowed between the parties and the IME physician unless approved by the director, or an administrative law judge. Any violation may result in cancellation of the IME”.
This bill would codify the intent of the division’s current rule and provide for a penalty. The number of “probable” complaints over the past two years resulting from the enforcement of this rule are estimated to have totaled less than ten. All of the complaints have been settled outside of the formal administrative process. The penalty in this bill would serve as a further deterrent and is not expected to generate any significant additional revenue. The provisions of this bill would not affect any other agency of the state, or unit of local government. Therefore, this bill is assessed as having no fiscal impact.
Labor and Employment