Doctors, nurse case managers and the insurance adjustor may say you have reached MMI. MMI stands for maximum medical improvement which basically means the doctors you are treating with think it is unlikely that your medical condition will improve much in the future. However, do not let this discourage you because there are many doctors with many different opinions. You are always allowed to seek medical care and treatment on your own, but usually it will be at your own expense, unless you are successful in obtaining alternative medical care which is a process we describe in detail in our workers' compensation book which is available at no cost or risk. Also, keep in mind that you have the right to a 2nd opinion once their doctor says you are at MMI and has evaluated you for a permanent impairment rating. Iowa Code Section 85.39 provides your right to a 2nd opinion, sometimes called an IME (independent medical examination). The insurance company is required to pay for the examination, your mileage and missed time from work attending the examination.
The right to an IME under Iowa law is a very important right and the doctor you choose is critical. You do not want to just choose any local doctor to do your IME as some doctors are more likely to give an opinion to help the insurance company. There are only a handful of qualified IME doctors around the State of Iowa. We can help you choose the best IME doctor for your case depending upon your injuries and where you live.