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Independent Medical Evaluation: How to Prepare and What to Expect

Independent Medical Evaluation: How to Prepare and What to Expect

If you’re in the throes of a disability or workers’ comp battle, chances are you’ll be headed for our office sooner or later. 

Dr. Jocelyn Idema is a certified independent medical examiner at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center. That means she has extra training in providing an impartial report about your condition. 

Most of our patients are overwhelmed by pressure from employees, insurance companies, and lawyers by the time they get to us, so our team is here to take the guesswork out of an independent medical evaluation (IME)

Here’s your ultimate guide to IMEs, including how to prepare and what to expect.

What to know before you go

If you need an IME, someone (an employer, insurance company, etc.) wants a second, unbiased opinion on your health status. We assess the severity of your injuries, recommend a course of treatment, and communicate with those involved in your legal case. 

Dr. Idema has received additional training to become an independent medical examiner, and she uses her expertise to provide an impartial report, tell you exactly what to expect from your injuries over the long term, and even settle disputes between you and the other parties. 

Here are a few things you can do to prepare for your appointment. 

Getting ready for your appointment

First and foremost, you must attend your IME. We understand how frustrating legal battles can be, so it can be tempting to blow off your IME. However, skipping your appointment can prompt the insurance company to deny or terminate your benefits. 

Not only do we strongly encourage you to attend your IME, but we also recommend you bring a trusted friend or family member. Having someone there to help you recount the details of your injury and remember what’s said is crucial when you’re in a heated disability case. 

During your appointment, talk candidly and truthfully, giving us as many details as possible about your injury, the medical and legal advice you’ve already received, and what treatments you’ve tried. 

Remember to bring all of the relevant documentation and paperwork you must complete. Ensure that your employer, lawyer, and insurance company have given you everything you need before coming to the office. 

We create a report of your visit, but you can also make your own for your personal records and to corroborate the details of your IME.

How your appointment goes

IMEs are very similar to physicals, but we ask different, more pointed questions. We begin by reviewing your medical history, discussing your lifestyle, and conducting a physical examination, often including evaluating your physical and mental abilities. 

You should expect to provide a blood and/or urine sample and possibly have an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. 

We recommend wearing comfortable clothing that allows you to participate fully in every phase of your IME. 

Once your evaluation ends, Dr. Idema prepares a report of her findings, answers specific questions, and fills out the necessary paperwork. She also provides an opinion on the validity of your claim, whether your lifestyle has influenced your health, and other factors. 

You can rest assured that Dr. Idema and our entire team at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center are unbiased truth seekers. Neither you nor pressure from the other parties sways our report. 


If you have more questions about IMEs or need to schedule a visit with Dr. Idema at one of our offices in Pittsburgh, Washington, or McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, call our friendly staff or request an appointment using our online booking tool.

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