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Insurance companies hire doctors to conduct these "independent" exams. Many times these doctors charge $500 - or more - per exam, as opposed to the $85 they charge for an exam of a patient they are treating. Many times, the whole exam lasts only 5 minutes or less (I've had clients time it) and the doctor then writes a 3 or 4 page report to the insurance company or its attorney.
There are a handful of physicians in Washington, D.C. who earn an extremely good living performing these exams and writing these reports for insurance companies. You can imagine the "opinions" these doctors generate. They may say the injured worker was never hurt, or wasn't hurt on the job or the condition he suffers from now was not caused by the injury, or the injury only caused a temporary aggravation of some underlying condition, or the injury is not as bad as the worker and his doctor think, ...You get the picture.
Sometimes the reports on different injured workers are virtually identical - only the names have changed. And in my experience, the more desperate the carrier, they more notorious the litigation or insurance doctor they will turn to for the exam.
As with anything in life, there are exceptions to the rule. Occasionally an insurance company will hire a competent, neutral physician to evaluate an injured worker, and that physician will take the time to thoroughly evaluate the injured worker and make recommendations that are helpful to his treatment and rehabilitation. But most of the time, workers compensation insurance companies are more interested in limiting or denying benefits and reducing the amount they have to pay to workers hurt on the job.