Becoming an IME Provider

An independent medical examination (IME) is an objective medical-legal examination requested (by L&I or self-insurer) to establish medical findings, opinions, and conclusions about a worker's physical condition. These examinations may only be conducted by L&I-approved examiners.

To be paid for IMEs for Washington workers' compensation, examiners must be approved and be assigned an IME provider number. Examiners must reapply every 3 years, or when requirements change. Examiners must understand Washington workers’ compensation rules. See WAC 296-23-317 for detailed IME provider requirements.

For the Washington Administrative Codes (WACs) covering independent medical exams, see WAC Chapter 296-23 (IME WACs 296-23-302 through 296-23-392)

How to apply or renew as an IME provider

  1. Read the Medical Examiners’ Handbook (F252-001-000) and then sign in to My L&I, browse to the Medical Examiners' Handbook Certification Test, and complete it within 6 months of submitting your application. Print a copy of the certificate of completion to submit with your application packet. (Medical Examiners' Handbook and Impairment Rating tab has more information.)
  2. Print and complete the appropriate IME Provider Account Application packet.
  3. Review CE requirements. Include documentation of continuing education (CE) if required.
  4. Mail or fax a copy of your test certificate with the appropriate application packet to the address or number below. Be sure to include any required attachments as described on the application. (Only complete applications will be processed. Incomplete applications will be returned.)

Department of Labor & Industries
Provider Quality and Compliance
PO Box 44322
Olympia, WA 98504-4322

Fax: 360-902-4249

When L&I approves your application, we will notify you in writing.

Questions about the application process?

Call the IME Program Specialist at 360-902-5131.

Medical Examiners' Handbook & Impairment Rating Info

Medical Examiners' Handbook

Approved examiners and medical providers who rate impairment are required to follow department guidelines and to be familiar with the Medical Examiners' Handbook (MEH) (F252-001-000). The Medical Examiners’ Handbook contains rules, guidelines, sample reports, and other information about conducting independent medical exams and impairment ratings in Washington workers’ compensation system. The handbook is also used by treating providers and consultants who rate impairment.

Medical Examiners' Handbook Test

To prepare for the Medical Examiners' Handbook Certification Test, please read the Medical Examiners' Handbook (F252-001-000).

This publication contains guidelines, sample reports, and billing procedures for preparing and conducting impairment ratings and independent medical exams (IME) in Washington's Workers’ Compensation system. The activity was planned and produced in accordance with the WSMA Essential Elements, Criteria, and Standards of Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education.

Disclosure: None of the faculty involved with developing this handbook has any financial relationship to disclose nor do they financially benefit from this product.

This activity is accredited for Category 1 CME. This examination is open book. You may find it helpful to print the handbook for reference, as you will be referring to it throughout.

  • How much time will it take?
    • After reading the handbook, it should take approximately 30 minutes to complete the activity.
  • How do I take the test?
    • NOTE: You'll need to sign in to My Secure L&I to begin the test. If you do not already have a secure login, click on the "Sign up" button to register and follow the prompts from there.
      • Tip: In the pop up box Complete Set Up select the option Independent Medical Examination Provider.
      • At the bottom of the next pop up box, select the shortcut link at the bottom of the window "Take the Medical Examiners' Handbook certification test". You do not need to enter your L&I Provider ID or NPI#.
    • You will be able to print your certificate of completion when you pass the test.

Impairment ratings use 2 systems

  • To rate impairment of extremities for workers covered by L&I, use the 5th Edition of the AMA Guides.
  • To rate impairment of the spine, mental health, and other systems, use the category rating systems in the Medical Examiners' Handbook (F252-001-000).

Questions about impairment ratings? Contact the IME program’s Occupational Nurse Consultant at 360‑902‑6818.

General Information for Approved IME Providers

Find a Medical Examiner

To view the most current list of approved IME examiners or to search for an approved examiner by specialty and/or location, use the Find a Medical Examiner search tool.

This search tool is updated in real time and contains the most accurate list of approved IME examiners.

New and Removed Examiners List

What is an assignment letter?

Claim managers create a request for an independent medical examination (IME) through the online scheduling system. This request or assignment letter contains instructions about the location for the examination and the specialty of the examiner(s) requested.

The assignment letter also states the purpose of the IME and includes specific questions to be answered by the examiner. After the IME has been scheduled, L&I adds the letter to the claim file to the Claim and Account Center (CAC) or, on request, will mail it to the IME firm or the individual examiner.

Self-insured employers do not use the scheduling system. They schedule the exam and provide the claim file directly to the IME provider. A cover letter will be included to describe the reason for the IME and any questions to be answered.

What if I need to reschedule an exam?

To reschedule an exam requested by L&I, you can submit a request through the online scheduling system or contact the L&I scheduling unit.

To reschedule an exam requested by a self-insurer or the Crime Victim’s Compensation Program, contact them directly.

How to write your IME reports

  • Write the IME report for a non-medical audience.
  • Use lay terms to explain all causal, diagnostic, logic, deductions and conclusions.
  • Answer all questions in the assignment letter.
  • Don't include a disability rating when the worker hasn't reached medical stability or a rating was not requested.
  • Order any non-invasive testing required to complete your examination or to supplement your findings; you do not need pre-authorization from L&I.
  • Include recommendations for invasive testing or additional treatment.
  • Use the Independent Medical Exam Template (F245-058-000); see Appendix A of the Medical Examiners' Handbook (F252-001-000) for more details.
  • A single report and/or addendum can cover:
    • Multiple claim numbers for the same worker.
    • Exams conducted on the same worker by multiple examiner specialties (such as orthopedic surgery, neurology, or psychiatry).

Scheduling System for L&I (State Fund) IMEs

Get registration steps, login instructions, and contact information for help with the scheduling system. In June 2015, L&I launched the Independent Medical Examination (IME) scheduling system for all L&I independent medical exams.

Approved IME providers interested in conducting IMEs for injured workers covered by L&I's State Fund must use this system to accept and schedule IMEs. Currently only IME firms have access to the Scheduling System.

IME firms must use My L&I to access the scheduling system using their existing Claim & Account Center (CAC) user ID and password as well as a personalized code.

  • Problems logging on? Contact Web Customer Support at 360-902-5999.
  • Need help navigating the scheduling system? Contact Stuart Bammert at 206-515-2799.

For assistance

Central Scheduling Unit: 800-468-7870.

Submitting your IME reports

Submit your report to the department or self-insured employer within 14 days of the examination or within 14 days of receiving any test results.

Submit the report to L&I through the online scheduling system. (For self-insured claims or Crime Victim’s Compensation claims, send the report to the party that requested the exam.)

Make sure all claim numbers are included at the top right-hand corner of every page.

You do not need to mail the report for State Fund claims.

Accessing Medical Records / CAC

L&I provides access to medical claim files only on our online Claim & Account Center (CAC). When an IME is scheduled, the claim manager grants the IME provider time-limited access to the claim file using the claim and provider numbers. L&I revokes the access when the time-limit has expired.

Additional Resources

IME Comments / Quality Concerns

IME complaints must be received in writing. You may submit comments about your IME experience by mail or fax using the IME comments form. Or, you may send an email to the IME Complaints Mailbox.

Mail or fax to:

Department of Labor & Industries
Provider Quality and Compliance
PO Box 44322
Olympia, WA 98504-4322

Fax: 360-902-4249

How to Notify the IME Provider if you Intend to Record your Exam

A worker or their representative is required to notify the IME provider of their intent to record the IME no later than seven calendar days before the date of the examination. Contact information for IME Providers will soon be included with the appointment/assignment letter that workers receive when an IME is scheduled. If a worker would like written confirmation, they should use email or fax, or ask for an email confirmation of their phone call.

IME Billing Codes and Fees

See billing and payment policies Chapter 13 for IME code descriptions or Chapter 12 for Impairment Rating Services by Attending Providers or Consultants.

This site contains the policies, payment methods and maximum fees used to pay health care and vocational providers who treat injured workers and crime victims. (Make sure to check the Updates & Corrections tab for any changes to the Payment Policies or Fee Schedules.)

How to apply to be a Network Provider

For information about Becoming a Provider with L&I.

IME Email List

Join IME Email List

IME Forms

Get an IME Form or Publication

IME Laws & Rules

IME WACs 296-23-302 – 296-23-392

IME Training / Continuing Education for Providers and Staff

Training Catalog

Who to Contact?

  • IME occupational nurse consultant: 360-902-6818
  • IME Application & Requirements: 360-902-5131
  • IME Scheduling Questions/Problems: 206-515-2799
  • Medical Examiners’ Handbook Test web help: 360-902-5999
  • Billing Questions Provider Hotline: 800-848-0811

IME Business & Labor (B&L) Advisory Committee

The IME B&L Advisory Team is the primary venue for business and labor representatives to advise the Department of Labor and Industries on quality improvement initiatives, research and evaluation, best practices, and incentives related to IMEs for injured workers, representing the broader community of both state fund employers and self-insurers. The IME B&L Advisory Team provides input on process improvements with a visionary view, and ensures the integrity of the IME process. The Team provides insight on short- and long-term strategies in support of IME initiatives and future legislative mandates.

The IME B&L Advisory Committee consists of the following stakeholder members (updated April 2023):

  • Chantell Yeager, Boeing
  • Ann Silvernale, Workers Compensation Group
  • Gennia Wellington, King County
  • Kathy Potvin, Washington State Association for Justice
  • Dianne Whitten, Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council
Independent Representative:
  • Donna Egeland, Self-Insurance Ombuds
Department Members:
  • Karen Jost, Health Services Analysis Program Manager
  • Troy Parks, Provider Quality & Compliance Manager
  • Kristen Baldwin-Boe, Special Programs Manager
  • Knowrasa Patrick, Self-Insurance Program Manager
  • Gerond Kolonja, Regional Program Manager
  • Nancy Adams, Claims Administration Operations Manager
  • Cheri Ward, Chief of Claims
  • Melissa Dunbar, IME Program Specialist

Upcoming Meeting Dates

  • August 13, 2024
  • December 10, 2024

Previous meeting agendas and minutes

IME Roundtable Meeting

IME Roundtable Purpose:  Forum to bring together IME firm representatives, IME providers and L&I staff to facilitate communication, provide education, foster a strong working relationship, and develop mutual process improvement initiatives; overarching purpose of the IME Roundtable is collaboration and strategic alignment with the Mission of Labor and Industries to Keep Washington safe and working.

All approved IME Providers are invited to attend along with department staff representing various sections of the department. Meetings are currently held via pre-registered Zoom meetings. Pre-pandemic meetings were held at the Tukwila service location.

Upcoming Meeting Dates

  • September 19, 2024
  • January 16, 2025

Previous meeting agendas and minutes