Workers' compensation is the oldest social insurance program in the United States. The State of Washington Industrial Insurance Commission was created in 1911 to administer the Workmen's Compensation Act. In 1921 it and other labor agencies were absorbed into the Department of Labor and Industries.
The roots of our panel go back to the mid-1950's. Our founder and first medical director began the practice of medicine in Seattle in 1958. He founded our panel in 1978, drawing from his extensive private practice experience in formulating our philosophy. From the beginning, our focus has been on ensuring the highest quality medical evaluations possible.
Nothing, and no one, interferes with or influences our physicians' medical opinions. Our offices exist to provide an environment where the practice of medicine can be the sole focus of our consultants.
What is a "panel"?
A panel is the combined medical opinions of multiple examiners. It is a natural extension of a system in Washington State that has been a standard since the early 1940's. Two or more physicians, addressing the same conditions, in the same room, at the same time, provide an accurate "snapshot in time" of the medical conditions under review. Each examiner focuses on their own specialty and the formulation of the final opinion is their combined best medical recommendation. We are now alone in Washington and nationwide in making this model the focus of our practice. While the vast majority of the nation's leading hospitals and teaching institutions have adopted a similar "team medicine" approach, the vast majority of so-called "IME providers" have abandoned this difficult and labor intensive practice.
Our panel has long been alone in being able to promise:
- Our reports are the sole work product of our physicians. They review the record, obtain a full history from the examinee, conduct an examination based in their specialty, then dictate the entirety of the report. There is no "review" or "summary" provided to them to short-cut their record reviews, nor are their record reviews the work product of a nurse or other third party.
- If more than one physician is involved in the examination (a "panel") all those physicians will discuss and concur in the conclusions. This ensures a combined opinion, the blended expertise of a group of specialists.
- We do not require examinees to fill out pages and pages of questionnaires to substitute for a history of the injury or condition taken directly by the physician.
- Our physicians will personally address any questions that may arise. While we pride ourselves on "Quality Assurance" that assurance is solely medically based.
- We make every effort to ensure our reports are completed and in the mail one week after the examination. If, for any reason, the report is delayed, we will contact the referral with a detailed explanation.
- We will contact every examinee, well in advance of their appointment date, to confirm attendance. Should we discover that an examinee cannot attend, or if we are unable to locate them, we will contact the referral immediately.