Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New IMA Fraud & Worse

Industrial Medicine Associates (“IMA”) has a contract to perform consultative examinations (“CE”s) for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) claimants. The IMA CE’s engages in numerous questionable activities, including its fraudulent releases, violating the law by failing to notify attorneys of CEs, fraudulently claiming that CE are needed when they are not, and making fraudulent findings. Searching my blog will reveal countless additional examples of IMA misconduct. 

As stated in my blog entry from October 5, 2012, because of IMA’s dishonesty, I advise my clients to videotape CEs by IMA: 

“There is no rule, regulation, statute, guideline, or case law that precludes an SSD claimant from recording his or her CE. There have been countless times where IMA doctors have been banned from performing CE’s, or their opinions have been rejected, after substantial evidence or cross examinations showed they falsified CE findings. If IMA doctors perform CEs in accordance with the regulations, then they should have nothing to hide, and should have no problem with the videotaping. Videotaping an IMA CE is consistent with the SSA recording experts and witnesses at hearings. IMA has a protracted history of acting improperly. Read some of my prior entries on this topic: 11/22/10, 6/6/12, 5/17/12, 10/5/11, 6/29/12, 6/16/12,3/8/10, 8/31/12, 8/11/08, 4/21/10, 6/4/12, 9/8/10, 8/16/12. IMA has a contract with New York State to perform CEs, for which it gets paid a ton of taxpayer money. Medical Experts at hearings are videotaped, and IMA has no excuse or legal authority to justify its refusal to have its doctors videotaped while performing a CE ordered and paid for by New York State. Perhaps if IMA refuses to perform a large number of CEs when claimants try to videotape them, the State will terminate or refuse to renew its contract with IMA” 

I previously pointed out that the Workers’ Compensation law specifies that a claimant has the “right to video tape or otherwise record” an examination. IMA does workers comp exams just as they do CEs. IMA told one of my clients yesterday that they could not record the CE, and pointed to a new sign that says, “To maintain client confidentiality, video and/or audio recording is absolutely prohibited anywhere in this facility.” In small print below, the sign adds, “This policy does not apply to Workers Compensations exams.” 

The new sign admits that IMA is failing to maintain client confidentiality when it performs workers compensation exams. The governing agency should investigate IMA’s admission. Furthermore, IMA failed to explain how an SSD claimant’s recording their own exam can breach the claimant’s confidentiality. Moreover, IMA has refused to provide any explanation for its disparate treatment of disability claimants. 

Most importantly, it seems to me that since IMA’s contract for providing CEs does not state that they can prohibit videotaping, their conduct constitutes a breach of contract. Even if IMA were to renegotiate its contract to allow it to refuse videorecording, it does not trump a claimant’s right to record their own exam. That is why IMA claims that its “policy” is prohibit videorecording, because there is no law that enables it to do so. 

In April 2009, the New York State Inspector General and the Inspector General of the Office of the State Comptroller reviewed the contract that the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (“OTDA”) gave for performing CEs. The report addressed the allegations of Diagnostic Health Services that OTDA blatantly favored IMA in providing services. The IMA contract costs taxpayers about $20 million dollars for CEs in Bronx, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk. When will the State investigate IMA’s conduct?

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