ONLY PREPARATION COSTS OF REPORT ARE REIMBURSABLE WHEN 85.39 IME DATED SAME DATE AS EMPLOYER’S IME
In Swanson v. Pella Corp., an Iowa Workers’ Compensation Deputy Commissioner provided guidance on whether an employee-requested independent medical examination (IME) is reimbursable when both the employee’s and employer’s IMEs are dated the same date.
Section 85.39 of the Iowa Code provides that employees are entitled to an IME with a physician of their own choosing after an employer-retained physician comments on the employees’ permanent disability. The employees are then permitted to be reimbursed for their IME.
In Swanson, the injured employee requested an IME pursuant to Section 85.39. The employee’s selected expert issued her report on August 9. However, the employer-retained physician issued his report on August 9 as well.
Since the employee-retained expert’s IME must follow after the employer-retained expert’s IME and permanent disability evaluation under Section 85.39, the Deputy determined the employee was not due any reimbursement for his IME.
However, where an IME is completed but Section 85.39 doesn’t apply, an employee can still be reimbursed at the hearing for the costs associated with the preparation of the written report under Rule 876 IAC 4.33. The employee may not be reimbursed for the cost of the examination, transportation, nor lost wages for attending the examination.
Therefore, the employee in Swanson was reimbursed only for the charge of the preparation of his retained expert’s IME report.
This post was drafted by Faith Kowalski, a law clerk at Baylor Evnen. If you have questions regarding which IME costs need to be reimbursed in your case, please call Paul Barta or Micah Hawker-Boehnke at 402-475-1075.