What Is an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE)?

If you are receiving PA workers’ compensation benefits, your employer or its insurance company may require you to attend a medical examination with a doctor of its own choosing. One type of special medical examination is known as an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE), which can be requested up to two times within a 12 month period after you’ve been receiving benefits for 104. This exam is similar to an Independent Medical Examination, but its purpose is to try and limit your workers’ compensation benefits. 

According to a recent decision in workers’ compensation law, the IRE process was deemed unconstitutional. As a result of this ruling we are denying ALL IRE requests. Injured workers should not be subjected to unlawful exams that may negatively affect their workers’ compensation benefits. 

What happens during an IRE?

During an IRE, a doctor applies the American Medical Association’s (AMA) guidelines to determine if the injured worker is more than 50 percent disabled. If the doctor concludes that the worker is less than 50 percent disabled, then the injured worker’s benefits are capped at 50 weeks. 

Doctors have been using the current 6th addition of the AMA’s guidelines for evaluation. The recent court case determined that use of the 6th edition is unconstitutional because the guidelines were developed by a private company (the AMA) and not by a state agency, and because the guidelines haven’t been reviewed in nearly two decades. It is a violation of the constitution to give a private company the authority to determine how injured workers are evaluated under the law with no government oversight.

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