As an Iowan, you have rights and laws that protect you in the event of a work injury. Whether you need to take a few days off to heal from a minor problem or you can never work again because of a major injury, the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation has you covered.
However, there are rules and guidelines to make sure the process is fair. Part of this process includes an independent medical examination (IME) by an impartial physician.
Dr. Stanley Mathew, our triple-board certified physiatrist here at American Rehabilitation Medicine in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, is a qualified IME examiner who helps workers throughout Eastern Iowa get the care they need and understand their rights.
Once you’ve received all the medical care possible to treat your workplace injury and nothing more can be done to improve your health, you may still experience partial or complete loss of function, physically and/or mentally.
At this point, the state requires you to undergo a disability consultation to determine the extent of your disability based on a standard ranking system. Dr. Mathew can perform your disability consultation and offer a fair and accurate assessment of your impairment. Here’s what you can expect during your disability consultation appointment.
The purpose of the disability exam is to establish whether or not your injury has left you disabled in any way, and if so, to what extent.
In fairness to you and your employer, the state requires you to see an independent, approved physician to make the assessment. That’s where Dr. Mathew comes in. The state of Iowa trusts Dr. Mathew’s diagnostic skills and his integrity, and so can you.
His findings are based on standardized tests, and his decisions are fair and impartial.
The exact nature of your disability consultation depends on the type of injury you’ve sustained, but it generally includes some basic information gathering first.
We measure your vital signs, including your weight, height, blood pressure, heart rate, and reflexes. We also check your vision and hearing.
Dr. Mathew may ask you about your health care journey since the time of your injury and review documents that give him a better picture of your treatments and progress. He also talks with you about any symptoms you’re experiencing, including mental and emotional ones. The rest of the exam differs from patient to patient according to the area of the injury.
For example, if you injured your leg, Dr. Mathew may take X-rays or use other diagnostic imaging technology to get a better look at your bone structure and soft tissues. He tests your leg strength and evaluates your gait.
After Dr. Mathew has completed a thorough physical and mental exam, he uses Iowa state guidelines to determine your percentage of disability.
If you’re entitled to disability benefits, they’re determined based on the type and percentage of disability you have.
Each of these scenarios comes with different benefits. You may be entitled to a percentage of your wages for a short or long period of time. The exact schedule of benefits and when they begin and end is based on the variables in your specific case.
To give you an idea of how this works, here are a few examples of injuries to specific body parts and the length of time you might receive disability benefits.
This is only a partial list of all the possible types of injuries, and these examples are based on 100% loss of function. If you experience only partial loss of function, your benefits period may be shorter. Dr. Mathew’s examination is key in determining the extent of your disability.
If you need a qualified physician to conduct your disability consultation, get in touch with Dr. Mathew at American Rehabilitation Medicine. Call or click to get started.