We can provide an Independent Medical Exam/Evaluation (IME), which is an objective third-party mental health assessment.
What is an IME?
An Independent Medical Exam/Evaluation (IME) is an objective third-party assessment that may be used to assess and/or diagnose potential mental health difficulties in order to determine eligibility for benefits. Often these assessments are requested by lawyers, insurance companies, employers, schools, human resources, or workers’ compensation programs.
Who Can Complete an IME?
The IME assessor must be a health care professional who is qualified to diagnose the condition. In Ontario, mental health IME assessors are typically psychologists or psychiatrists.
The IME assessor is an independent examiner, meaning they are not involved in the direct care of the individual assessed. The IME assessor does not provide treatment to the individual, but may make recommendations to be enacted by other health professionals (e.g., psychotherapy recommendations for depression to be provided by another professional).
What is Addressed in an IME?
Typically, the referrer (e.g., lawyer or insurance company) will provide a number of questions to be addressed by the IME. Some examples of questions include:
- Does the individual have a mental health diagnosis or condition and, if so, what is the diagnosis using DSM-5 and/or ICD-10?
- How impaired is the individual by the mental health condition?
- Is the individual able to work? Are there restrictions or accommodations required?
- What, if anything, caused the mental health condition?
- What, if any, are recommended treatments?
- What is the probability of recovery from the mental health condition?
- What are barriers to recovery from the mental health condition?
What Happens as Part of an IME?
The IME assessment usually involves both direct contact with the assessor and individual (e.g., clinical interview, psychometric testing, validity testing, self-report measures), as well as well as file review of any available medical records, audio/visual materials, collateral contacts, as necessary.
Once all the material is gathered, the IME assessor compiles all the data into a comprehensive report to address the questions presented by the referrer. This report is then provided to the referrer.
In completing an IME, we follow the best practices set forth by several organizations: