What's New in Claims

L&I Updates Independent Medical Exams Criteria

Engrossed substitute senate bill 6440 amended requirements for Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) for worker compensation claims by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). These changes affected employers who purchase workers’ compensation coverage from the department (the “State Fund”) as well as those that are self-insured.

The passing of ESSB 6440 amends requirements for independent medical exams IMEs within the workers’ compensation system and creates a multi-disciplinary workgroup, led by L&I, to recommend innovations to the legislature that improve the IME process. This bill takes steps to address concerns with IMEs by:

  • Identifying specific reasons for how, when, and where an IME can be requested
  • Introducing telemedicine as an option to reduce burden to workers
  • Limiting the ability to assess a no-show fee

Before this new law, an IME could be scheduled “Whenever the director or the self-insurer deemed it necessary.” This new law further clarifies when an IME can be requested. We have answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) and invite you to learn more.