California DIR, DWC Announces Updates For QME Med-Legal Exams Due To COVID-19

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced today that the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is taking further steps to ensure public safety, evaluating the viability of telemedicine for Qualified Medical Examiner (QME) evaluations. According to the DIR, “the use of telemedicine for a QME evaluation may be appropriate where all parties agree that there is a medical issue in dispute which involves whether or not the injury is AOE/COE (Arising Out of Employment / Course of Employment), and all parties to the action, including the physician, agree to a telemedicine evaluation in order to resolve this dispute. Although DWC is not authorizing any particular course of action, the division recognizes that in this time of medical emergency, creative delivery methods of essential medical treatment and evaluation services may be needed.” 

In addition, QMEs who cancel or reschedule appointments within 6 business days of the appointment may assert that they have good cause to do so. “The current state of emergency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic presents serious public health concerns, and parties and evaluators are encouraged to work together to take any action that may be necessary to protect the health of doctors, their staff and injured workers.”

Click here to read the full announcement.