Independent Medical Examination & Impairment Rating

Independent Medical Examination (IME)

An Independent Medical Examination, or an IME, is a special type of evaluation that can be performed by a neurologist. The purpose of the IME is to provide a current assessment of a patient's medical status, often following an injury. The neurologist will review the patient's records and X-rays, take a history, and perform an examination. Unlike the typical or customary medical appointment, during an IME, the neurologist does not provide treatment or make decisions about the patient. Instead, he or she will prepare an objective analysis describing the nature of the problems that the patient may have. This may be helpful in determining the types of further care that the patient needs. IME's are provided by all NCPA physicians.

Impairment Rating (IR)

An impairment rating is another type of special evaluation that can be performed by a neurologist. This analysis is performed after an injury when it has been determined that a person will have a permanent injury or loss of function that will not get better. Examples of such injuries would include amputations and nerve trauma. An impairment rating becomes necessary in some cases to help determine the financial compensation that the injured worker is to be awarded. The neurologist will measure strength, sensation, limb range of motion and other functions. Using a book published by the American Medical Association called the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, the neurologist will consult various tables and prepare an impairment rating that can then be used by the insurance company, the Workers Compensation Commission, or other institutions. Only physicians with special training should perform impairment ratings. At the Neurology Center, Dr. Kenneth W. Eckmann of the Wheaton office has such training and provides these ratings.