According to Colorado Workers’ Compensation rules of procedure, after an injured worker is placed at maximum medical improvement (MMI), released from care and given an impairment rating by their authorized workers’ compensation physician, the worker has the right to challenge those opinions by going through the Colorado Division Independent Medical Examination (DIME) process. The DIME process is where a separate and independent physician reviews the injured worker’s medical records and performs a thorough exam of the body part(s) that were affected by the work-related injury. For all intents and purposes, the DIME physician is the means in which the injured worker gets a second opinion. The DIME physician will address MMI, impairment and apportionment. Also inherent to the DIME’s opinions is the issue of causation. In other words, the DIME will determine what the cause was for the work-related conditions.
Often, the DIME process is the only way that a person who is injured at work can get additional treatment after being released from care. Further, the DIME process helps to determine whether the person who was injured at work was assigned the correct impairment. This is crucial as that impairment dictates what the injured worker will receive in workers’ compensation benefits. One must keep in mind though that the DIME’s conclusions are quite difficult to overcome if the injured worker wanted to challenge them at a hearing level, which is a right that every person who is injured on the job has.
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