Problems in the California Workers’ Compensation industry over the last several years have made life for QME’s more difficult than it ought to be. In a time where the demand for evaluation services has never been higher, the amount of physicians performing evaluations has been alarmingly inadequate – resulting in QME service delays and making it difficult for injured workers to receive treatment. According to a blog post by Douglas Stoddard on CalMedEval.com, while hundreds of doctors are still registering for the program every year, less than 35% of them actually ever get around to beginning their QME practice.
Stoddard cites three main reasons for the low turnout:
- “Uncertainty in the System”: There are many questions regarding the stability of the California Workers’ Comp System in general. Doubt has plagued a lot of doctors interested in the QME practice, leading to hesitation and second thoughts about pursuing QME service altogether.
- “System Complexity”: California Workers’ Compensation is very unique, incredibly complicated, and very intimidating – especially for beginners. The competency exams are notorious for being brutal – registering only a 54% passing rate. A lack of educational resources to help doctors get acquainted with QME regulations, procedures, and administrative tasks has also been noted.
- “Lack of Skilled Resources”: QME practice requires doctors to develop new skills to make them effective as evaluators – but it doesn’t end there. Their staff must also wrap their heads around the complex system, which can bog down a doctor’s office and negatively affect both their private and public practices. There is so much to learn that it can become too overwhelming and burdensome – leading to doctors abandoning the idea of becoming a medical evaluator.
Fortunately, solutions do exist that may help physicians overcome these present-day challenges. One suggestion would be to increase the amount of QME educational materials, then make it freely available all over the state with the intention of improving the competency exam passing rate. Another solution for doctors would be to forge working relationships with external collaborators that specialize in QME work – liberating a doctor’s regular staff to focus on what they do best, while delegating all QME requirements to the strategic partner. Finding ways to address these issues would greatly benefit physicians interested in operating a successful QME service – and eventually restore efficiency to the state’s Workers’ Comp industry.
When it comes to medical evaluations, TukkoMed is your best friend. Reserve your staff for your private practice and leave the QME work to us!