Female doctor having online therapy with her patient's, giving them advice while using telemedicine as a new normal during COVID 19 pandemic outbreak

Quick Hit: Telemedicine for Wash. IMEs

28 Aug, 2023 Frank Ferreri

Female doctor having online therapy with her patient's, giving them advice while using telemedicine as a new normal during COVID 19 pandemic outbreak
                               

Spokane, WA (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Telemedicine has been around for years, and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became a part of the "new normal."

To clarify when telemedicine is an acceptable way to go for an independent medical examination, the State of Washington has spelled it out in a rule, which is broken down below.

In Washington, the following exams may be conducted via telehealth:

[+] Mental Health
[+] Dermatology
[+] Speech when there is no documented hearing loss
[+] Kidney function
[+] Hematopoietic system
[+] Endocrine

Terminology

In Washington, telehealth and telemedicine are used interchangeably and have the same requirements as in-person visits. Telemedicine may be appropriate to effectively conduct an IME when:

(1) Face-to-face services by a qualified medical provider can be delivered through a real-time, two-way, audio-video connection.
(2) A worker is able and willing to participate in an exam via telemedicine.
(3) The department or self-insured employer and worker have agreed that a telemedicine IME is appropriate. Additionally, the location of the worker during the exam should also be agreed upon.
(4) The agreement is documented in the claim file.
(5) A physical or hands-on exam is not required.

Additional Specialties

A telemedicine IME may be approved on a case-by-case basis for additional specialties upon:

(1) The request of the department or self-insured employer.
(2) With the agreement of the worker.


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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