Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Workers' Compensation Division
Medical Examinations; Suspension of Compensation; and Independent Medical Examination Notice
(1) General. A worker must submit to independent medical examinations reasonably requested by the insurer or the director.(a) The conditions of the examination must be consistent with conditions described in OAR 436-010-0265 (Independent Medical Exams (IMEs) and Worker Requested Medical Exams (WRMEs)).(b) If the worker refuses or fails to submit to, or otherwise obstructs, an independent medical examination reasonably requested by the insurer or the director under ORS 656.325 (Required medical examination)(1), the director may suspend compensation by order:(A) The worker must have the opportunity to dispute the suspension of compensation before the director will issue the order; and(B) Compensation will be suspended until the examination has been completed. The worker is not entitled to compensation during or for the period of suspension.(c) Any action of a worker’s observer allowed under OAR 436-010-0265 (Independent Medical Exams (IMEs) and Worker Requested Medical Exams (WRMEs))(6) that obstructs the examination may be considered an obstruction of the examination by the worker for the purpose of this rule.(d) The director may determine whether special circumstances exist that would not warrant suspension of compensation for failure to attend or obstruction of the examination.(2) Number of examinations. The insurer may request no more than three separate independent medical examinations for each opening of a claim, except as provided under OAR 436-010. Examinations after the worker’s claim is closed are subject to limitations in ORS 656.268 (Claim closure)(8).(3) Scheduling and notice to worker. The insurer may contract with a third party to schedule independent medical examinations. When an examination is scheduled by the insurer, or by a third party at the request of the insurer:(a) The worker and the worker’s attorney, if any, must be simultaneously notified in writing of the scheduled medical examination;(b) The notice must be mailed at least 10 days before the examination;(c) If the third party notifies the worker of a scheduled examination on behalf of the insurer, the appointment notice must be sent on the insurer’s stationery; and(d) The notice sent for each appointment, including those which have been rescheduled, must contain the following:(A) The name of the examiner or facility;(B) A statement of the specific purpose for the examination and, identification of the medical specialties of the examiners;(C) The date, time, and place of the examination;(D) The first and last name of the attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner and verification that the attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner was informed of the examination by, at least, a copy of the appointment notice, or a statement that there is no attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner, whichever is appropriate;(E) If applicable, confirmation that the director has approved the examination;(F) A statement that the reasonable cost of public transportation or use of a private vehicle will be reimbursed and that, when necessary, reasonable cost of child care, meals, lodging and other related services will be reimbursed. A request for reimbursement must be accompanied by a sales slip, receipt or other evidence necessary to support the request. Should an advance of these costs be necessary for attendance, a request for advancement must be made in sufficient time to ensure a timely appearance;(G) A statement that an amount will be paid equivalent to net lost wages for the period during which it is necessary to be absent from work to attend the medical examination if benefits are not received under ORS 656.210 (Temporary total disability)(4) during the absence;(H) A statement that the worker has the right to have an observer present at the examination, but the observer may not be compensated in any way for attending the exam; however, for a psychological examination, the notice must explain that an observer is allowed to be present only if the examination provider approves the presence of an observer; and(I) The following notice in prominent or bold face type:(e) The insurer must include with each appointment notice it sends to the worker:(A) Form 3921, “Request for Reimbursement of Expenses,” or a similar form for requesting reimbursement; and(B) Form 3923, “Important Information about Independent Medical Exams.”(4) Reimbursement of costs. When a worker attends an independent medical examination the insurer must reimburse the worker for reasonable costs in accordance with OAR 436-009-0025 (Worker Reimbursement) regardless of claim acceptance, deferral, or denial.(5) Forwarding of reports from provider. Following completion of the examination, the insurer must forward a copy of the examiner’s signed report to the attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner within three business days of the insurer’s receipt of the report.(6) Requests to authorize suspension. The director will consider requests to authorize suspension of benefits on accepted claims, deferred claims, and denied claims in which the worker has appealed the insurer’s denial. The request for suspension must be sent to the division. A copy of the request, including all attachments, must be sent simultaneously to the worker and the worker’s attorney by registered or certified mail or by personal service in the same manner as a summons. The request must include the following information:(a) That the insurer requests suspension of compensation under ORS 656.325 (Required medical examination) and OAR 436-060-0095 (Medical Examinations; Suspension of Compensation; and Independent Medical Examination Notice);(b) The claim status and any accepted or newly claimed conditions;(c) What specific actions of the worker prompted the request;(d) The dates of any prior independent medical examinations the worker has attended in the current open period of the claim and the names of the examining physicians or facilities, or a statement that there have been no prior examinations, whichever is appropriate;(e) A copy of any approvals given by the director for more than three independent medical examinations, or a statement that no approval was necessary, whichever is appropriate;(f) Any reasons given by the worker for failing to comply, whether or not the insurer considers the reasons invalid, or a statement that the worker has not given any reasons, whichever is appropriate;(g) The date and with whom failure to comply was verified. Any written verification of the worker’s refusal to attend the exam received by the insurer from the worker or the worker’s attorney will be sufficient documentation with which to request suspension;(h) A copy of the notice required in section (3) and a copy of any written verification received under subsection (6)(g) of this rule;(i) Any other information that supports the request; and(j) The following notice in prominent or bold face type:(7) Effective date of suspension. If the director authorizes the suspension of compensation, the suspension will be effective from the date the worker fails to attend an examination or such other date the director deems appropriate until the date the worker undergoes an examination scheduled by the insurer or director. Any delay in requesting consent for suspension may result in authorization being denied or the date of authorization being modified.(8) Reinstatement of benefits. The insurer must assist the worker in meeting requirements necessary for the resumption of compensation payments. When the worker has undergone the independent medical examination, the insurer must verify the worker’s participation and reinstate compensation effective the date of the worker’s compliance.(9) Claim closure. If the worker makes no effort to reinstate compensation in an accepted claim within 60 days of the mailing date of the consent to suspend order, the insurer must close the claim under OAR 436-030-0034 (Administrative Claim Closure).(10) Denial of suspension. If the director denies the insurer’s request for suspension of compensation, the insurer will be notified of the reason for denial. Failure to comply with one or more of the requirements addressed in this rule may be grounds for denial of the insurer’s request.(11) Other actions by the director. The director may also take the following actions concerning the suspension of compensation:(a) Modify or set aside the order of consent before or after a request for hearing is filed;(b) Order payment of compensation previously suspended when the director finds the suspension to have been made in error; and(c) Reevaluate the necessity of continuing a suspension.(12) Final orders. An order becomes final unless, within 60 days after the date of mailing of the order, a party files a request for hearing on the order with the board.