Telepsych

What are TelePsych IMEs, and How Can They Help Insurers?

Feb 12, 2019

Insurers have to deal with mental illness issues just as they do physical. A mental ailment can disqualify someone from working under many insurance policies, and so insurers need to be aware of the conditions under which benefits are warranted. Likewise, they’ll need to understand when they’re not. 

The hard part, particularly with psychiatric issues, is that the core issues can be quite hidden and deeply personal.

Any insurer’s lifeline in a situation like this can be an independent psychiatric assessment. This allows you some measure of assurance that the condition is present as claimed thanks to the input of a qualified independent medical expert well versed in those types of issues. Having this evaluation performed is often part of any insurer’s due diligence to determine is there an actual psychiatric cause for the alleged disability, or could it be a workplace issue that might be resolved with an accommodation.

What is TelePsychiatry?

Because of the nature of psychiatric issues, it’s not always necessary that the psychiatrist be actually physically there in the interview room. It’s often quite sufficient for the psychiatrist to instead engage with the patient remotely. There are some compelling benefits:

  • Convenience
  • Eliminates the need for transportation — especially useful when the person is mobility impaired
  • Eliminates the cost of flights/bus fares etc., as well as hotels if an overnight stay in Edmonton or Calgary is unavoidable
  • Much faster access and issue resolution than waiting for months for the same service with a referral through AHS

Independent TelePsychiatry IMEs for the Disability Insurer

If you have a disability insurance decision to make on a potentially psychiatric issue and you need a little more confidence in the facts of the case, turning to an independent TelePsychiatry IME may be just what you need to verify the claim.

Through a video interview, your psychiatric expert can examine your claimant as though they were right there in the examining room. They’ll be able to ask questions and analyze responses and behaviours to gain a clearer understanding of the extent of the issue and how it may be affecting the ability to work or otherwise function.

You’ll receive a report that will help guide your decision-making, and show that you’ve taken the appropriate steps should anything come into question later.

You may elect to receive the full report, or just a summary that outlines whether the person is ready to resume his/her prior activities, with prognosis, treatment recommendations and any limitations/restrictions that may be appropriate. We always recommend that the full report be sent to the family doctor for review, particularly for any potential change in medication. After a TelePsych IME the psychiatrist is available for a brief telephone conversation with the family physician to discuss the case, providing the claimant gives written permission. This is the so-called Doctor-to-Doctor consultation that can be particularly helpful in selected cases.

Make Western Medical Assessments Your TelePsych Partner

WMA is the first company to introduce TelePsych IMEs into Western Canada -- yet another innovative service for our clients.

Think a TelePsych IME might be needed? Our Medical Director Dr. Roger Hodkinson is always available for a quick, no-obligation chat, even if you just need a little more information. He can get you started at 780.433.1191.

Want to know more about how independent medical advice can help in insurance adjusting? We’ve put together a handy eBook just for disability insurers you can access right here.

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