ORDER FOR INDEPENDENT PSYCHOLOGICAL
Schools Group Insurance Authority (MSGIA) has requested the
Court to authorize it to schedule an independent
psychological evaluation of petitioner, James Hedger
(Hedger). Hedger opposes this request.
December 15, 1989, Hedger suffered an industrial injury to
his head and spine while employed with the Great Falls Public
Schools. Following a hearing before a hearing examiner of
this Court, Hedger was determined to be "presently
permanently totally disabled". In his decision the
hearing examiner further stated, "In the event the
defendant does have medical and vocational evidence that the
claimant no longer meets the definition of permanent total
disability, an appropriate petition may be filed with this
Court." James Hedger v. Montana Schools Group
Authority, WCC No. 9209-6584 (May 7, 1993).
MSGIA scheduled Hedger for an independent medical examination
[IME] by Dr. Robert Chambers. Hedger did not appear for the
scheduled examination and MSGIA cut off benefits. Hedger then
obtained an execution from the Court and attempted to levy.
The Court then became involved in the IME dispute and
ultimately ordered the IME by Dr. Chambers and a
reinstatement of Mr. Hedger's benefits. Order Directing
Reinstatement of Benefits and Medical Examination (October
Chambers thereafter examined the claimant. In a November 17,
1993 report of his examination, Dr. Chambers states in part:
Improvement of his [Hedger's] condition would depend upon
the success of psychological evaluation and counseling, with
respect to many aspects of his personal life, including his
suspected fear of reinjury. Based on this examiner's
impression derived from the medical record and the encounter
today, the prognosis for improvement is guarded.
Nonetheless, if psychological intervention proved effective,
and Mr. Hedger could achieve a necessary degree of insight
into the nature of his current life's problems, and be
motivated to participate in the improvement of his own
condition, a rehabilitation program might be successful, a
detoxification program might be successful, and it is
certainly conceivable that he could return to gainful
employment for the remainder of his productive years.
full report is attached to a February 14, 1994 Request for
Telephonic Hearing made by MSGIA.
to Dr. Chamber's examination and report, MSGIA scheduled
Hedger for an IME by Dr. John Mendenhall, who is a
psychiatrist. Hedger disputed MSGIA's authority for the
examination and the dispute was brought to the Court's
attention through MSGIA's February 14, 1994 Request for
Telephonic Hearing. A conference call with counsel was held
on February 23, 1994, and resulted in the Court directing
that the matter be briefed.
March 18, 1994, MSGIA filed a Request for Independent Medical
Evaluation, along with a supporting brief. Hedger thereafter
responded. He contends that MSGIA has had its IME and the
doctrine of res judicata precludes any further IME. Brief in
Opposition to Request for Independent Psychological
Evaluation at 6.
Court treats MSGIA's request as one for a declaratory
ruling. Since the issue raised by the request follows on the
heels of the Court's prior adjudication of Hedger's
disability, and the present dispute concerns, in part, the
effect of that adjudication, the matter has been docketed
under the docket number of the original case.
insurer's right to an IME is addressed in section
39-71-605, MCA. Section ...