Common Objections to Workers’ Comp Reports: Examination

This article is part of a series on the top reasons why insurance carriers object to a workers’ compensation report and return it to the medical practice unpaid. This article is intended for medical providers, administrative staff, office managers, as well as insurance claims adjusters.

This is now the fourth in our series of Common Objections to Workers’ Comp Reports. If you haven’t already, read the previous articles on History of Symptoms, Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), and Prior Injuries.

Not everybody can do the splits, but your injured worker used to be able to get pretty close. Maybe they can’t go as far now because their range of motion in their left hip has been limited due to an injury at work. In fact, the key to measuring how much they can do the splits now lies in how far the injured leg moves from the hip as compared to the uninjured leg. This gives a crude idea of the examination in workers’ comp.

Failing to perform the examination according to the rules laid down in the AMA Guides 5th Edition gives the insurance carrier a great reason to object to your report, and the impairment rating that’s based on. Even if the insurance carrier accepts a report with an incomplete exam, the impairment rating is likely to be either too high or too low, which is bad news for at least one of the stakeholders.

Failure to document an exam correct on the report is setting yourself up to have a QME called. Take it from us: it’s better for everybody if the primary treating physician gets the exam right the first time.

Continue reading Common Objections to Workers’ Comp Reports: Examination

The fastest occupational medicine exam ever

Hi, my name’s Dr. John Alchemy—I’m a physician, a QME, as well as the CEO and founder of RateFast.

If your outpatient/office based clinic does occupational medicine, then I’d like to share a recent experience that could benefit your workplace and speed up your workday.

Using nothing but my iPhone and my laptop, I recently gave my fastest work-injury examination ever. The crazy part is that neither my patient or myself had to leave our homes.

Here’s the story: I was at home on a Saturday when I got a phone call. It was from a patient who had recently sustained a knee injury while he was at work. I had seen him recently, ordered some basic treatment, and completed a Doctor’s First report for his claim. But now he was experiencing some new symptoms: his knee was locked. He couldn’t bend it at all. Understandably, he was pretty alarmed.

If I had received this phone call 10 years ago, then my patient would have needed somebody to drive him to the emergency room, or else wait until Monday when my clinic was open. Once he got to the clinic or hospital, he would have needed to wait until somebody was available to see him. The odds of him quickly getting an appointment with me or another provider who was already familiar with his claim and work restrictions would have been pretty slim.

But that’s all in the past. Here’s what we did:

  1. We converted the phone call to a video chat.
  2. Using his phone’s camera, I examined his knee and remotely performed a physical.
  3. I determined that he had a possible bucket handle tear.
  4. While we were on the phone, I logged into RateFast on my laptop and created a PR-2 report. All the information about his injury and his employer from his Doctor’s First report imported into the PR-2 automatically, so I didn’t need to rewrite anything. Instead, I simply added some information about his new symptoms, and updated his treatment plan—specifically, I directed my patient to go to the ER or an orthopedic consultation.
  5. Then, I placed a call for sign-out to the ER. I gave them my potential diagnosis and treatment plan, which prepped them to help my patient when he arrived at the hospital.
  6. My patient’s wife drove him to the ER. But between the time they hung up the phone and the time they got into the car, I had already updated his work restrictions in RateFast and printed out the PR-2 report. It was ready to send to his employers’ insurance carrier.
  7. The whole thing—the exam, the phone call to the ER, and the PR-2 report—was over in less than 15 minutes.

Without telemedicine, this sort of visit might have easily cost my patient more than an hour—15 minutes of driving to the clinic (assuming the clinic is open), 15 minutes in the waiting room, 15 minutes of examination, and then another drive to emergency room. Without RateFast, I would’ve needed to spend extra time refreshing myself on the details of the case and filling out the PR-2 report.

Here are some of the positive outcomes of the whole business:

  1. My patient was able to get an examination without leaving his home or waiting until Monday.
  2. I essentially extended my medical practice’s office hours without losing more than few minutes of my own weekend.
  3. I was able to examine this patient without impacting the schedules of other patients who had appointments at the clinic on Monday.
  4. Since my patient didn’t need to drive as much, the employer and insurance company saved on travel expenses.
  5. My patient’s work restrictions and work status were updated sooner than they normally would’ve been, and the PR-2 was completed without a face-to-face visit.

The bottom line is that the whole claim moved forward faster, and everybody involved saved time and energy.

If you’re not already using telemedicine in your medical practice, then I can’t recommend it enough. Your patients might thank you for it.

If you’re not already on RateFast, now’s a great time to join: RateFast Express has more features than ever, and you get 2 free PR-2 and PR-4 reports (impairment ratings included!). Doctor’s First reports are completely free. Contact us at for more information about how we can help your medical practice.