An independent medical expert (IME) physician performs many different types of independent medical evaluations. IME physicians perform medical evaluations to assess a variety of factors from an unbiased standpoint. They do not, however, provide treatment. These types of medical evaluations are usually needed when there is a medical-legal dispute between two parties, such as an employee and an employer in a workers’ compensation case. The IME physician should have no previous relationship with the individual being evaluated, or any other party involved in the case to ensure complete neutrality. There are many different types of examinations that IME physicians perform. A return to work evaluation is performed when an employee has been absent from work for a period of time due to injury or illness and is used to help determine if the employee is physically ready to return to work. A fit for duty examination is used to evaluate an employee’s physical or psychological ability to fulfill work-related responsibilities. In a divorce case, an IME physician may be used to perform an independent medical evaluation to evaluate one party’s need for spousal support from the other party. Among the many other types of exams an IME physician might perform are impartial examinations, functional capacity evaluations, second opinions, and vocational assessments. In any legal case with a medical dispute, an IME physician is used to perform an unbiased examination to address and settle all the issues of the dispute. The individual’s regular physician is not used because he or she may be biased and not provide a fully accurate report. Generally, the claims administer conducts an in-depth interview over the phone and requests that the claimant submit to an independent medical evaluation. The phone interview is used to initially collect comments and facts from the claimant, so that they may be compared to the IME physician’s final report to minimize the amount of inconsistencies within the case. The IME physician usually begins the evaluation by discussing the claimant’s medical history in detail. This includes chronological medical history, the type and degree of disability, how the disability has affected the claimant’s ability to work as well as perform daily activities, and an explanation of any treatment plans previously discussed with other physicians. Following the discussion of the claimant’s medical history, the IME physician usually examines any previous tests performed, such as x-rays or MRIs, to look for signs of injury. The IME physician will then record the symptoms the individual claims to be experiencing. From there, the IME physician will perform a physical exam, focusing on the injury, but assessing other things as well. When the physical exam is finished, the IME physician may order other tests if he or she feels that more information is needed to come to a conclusion. After the evaluation is complete and all required tests have been performed, the IME physician writes up a report that is submitted to the claims administrator, as well as all the parties involved in the case.