A Second Independent Medical Evaluation (SIME) is ordered by the Alaska Workers Compensation Board. It can be ordered for three different reasons. First, SIMEs are most commonly ordered when there is a dispute between the injured Employee's treating physician and the the Employer's expert doctor.
A SIME can also be ordered if, second, there is a gap in evidence or, third, if the Board wants an evaluation for the purpose of developing the evidence before a hearing. A gap in the evidence occurs when there is not a clear cut dispute between the treating physician and Employer's physician but there is some evidence of a dispute.
When the Board orders a SIME, it sends the injured Employee to a physician on its list. See: SIME list Bulletin 13-06. The physicians on this list were approved by a committee but it does not mean that the physicians on the list are neutral. If you are facing a SIME, it is important to review cases in which that physician has been involved to determine whether s/he is fair. All decisions issued by the Board are available to the public and can be accessed on the Board's website: http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/legaldir.htm.
There are two ways to obtain a Board order for a SIME: the first is to obtain the agreement of the Employer's attorney. The second way is to file a Petition for SIME and go to hearing on the Petition. The forms for requesting a SIME are on the Board's site as well. You will need a Petition, form 07-6111, and a SIME form, form 07-6147.
Once a SIME is ordered, a Board employee will pick the physician(s) unless the injured Worker and Employer have stipulated to a particular physician and will send a letter out to the injured Employee and the Employer informing them of the date and time of the appointment and the name and location of the examination. The Employer is responsible for arranging, and paying for, transportation, hotel and meals for the Employee.
If you have questions about your workers compensation claim, call my office. I have more than 30 years experience fighting for the rights of injured Alaskans. Consultations are FREE. Call 258-7663.