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The foundation of mission of the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners (ABIME) is the belief that certification of independent medical examiners benefits the public good. This belief is based on the tenet that credentialed physicians have demonstrated that they possess the knowledge, skills, experience, and abilities required for the attainment of their certification as a Certified Independent Medical Examiners, (CIME)TM. Credentials, therefore, are reliable indicators of the professional’s capacity to perform independent medical and impairment evaluations according to the profession’s performance standards. Certification enables the public to make informed decisions regarding the selection and use of independent medical examiners.
Independent medical examinations (IMEs) are evaluations performed by an evaluator not involved in the care of the examinee, for clarifying clinical and case issues. IMEs are an important component of workers’ compensation systems, and are also used to clarify other disability or liability associated cases. Impairment evaluations are often used to provide a more objective understanding of the impact of an injury or illness.
The quality of examinations and examiners varies widely, and it has been often difficult to identify skilled, thorough and unbiased examiners, especially before an examination. Training is provided by several professional societies, however before ABIME there has been no national quality certification process.
ABIME certification was created to establish and maintain standards of conduct and performance among independent medical examiners. ABIME is recognized by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which sponsors state-of-the-art training courses in impairment and disability evaluation.
ABIME – Structure and Function
ABIME was established to enhance the quality of independent medical examinations by creating a voluntary process of standard setting, definition of competencies, and performance evaluation.
The ABIME is managed by the Board of Directors which spans several medical specialties. There is a Standards Committee, an Examination Committee, and a Board of Advisors. The Board of Advisors represents insurers, state workers’ compensation boards, employers, professional societies, benefits consultants, and other public interests. ABIME is also served by an Executive Director as well as a Program Manager.
ABIME – A Short History
In 1993 specific steps were undertaken to develop a certification body, and in 1994 the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners was incorporated in Washington, D.C. ABIME is an organization independent of existing specialty and training organizations established to facilitate the development of an independent and high quality certification process. ABIME will interface cooperatively with other organizations and will not favor any specific group or specialty.