• Report: #950903

Complaint Review: Central Seattle Panel of Consultants, Inc. (listed owner is Irene Suver)

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  • Submitted: Thu, October 04, 2012
  • Updated: Fri, October 05, 2012

  • Reported By: anonymous — Seattle Washington United States of America
Central Seattle Panel of Consultants, Inc. (listed owner is Irene Suver)
001 Broadway, Suite 300 Seattle, WA 98122 Seattle, Washington United States of America

Central Seattle Panel of Consultants, Inc. (listed owner is Irene Suver) Central Seattle Panel of Consultants, Everett Panel of Consultants, Panel of Consultants, Peer review & Utilization, Irene Suver Warning! This is not a medical provider, medical group or organization. Do not give your medical information to this business! Seattle, Washington

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Central Seattle Panel of Consultants, Inc.

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Central Seattle Panel of Consultants, Inc., is a for profit corporation and they are not a medical group or organization and therefore they have previously been exempt from any and all Washington State regulations or licensing
requirements from the Department of Health.

They claim to have been active in business since 1978.  As they are involved exclusively with injured workers, claimants and involved in advertising their medical services and consultations, you would think that they would be regulated.
They only have a business license and are on file with the secretary of state.
 
The only corporate officer and listed owner is Irene M. Suver. She does not have a medical background or formal education, although some of her family members were and or are medical physicians. Her educational background is in theatre, acting, film, casting, play writing and directing.
 
This medical consulting company advertises and state they provide medical evaluations, second opinion medical examinations, medical-legal consultations, vocational, functional testing , peer review to evidence-based "blue ribbon panels", where she states they are leaders in fairness, quality and integrity.

There has been some concern that in order to make this very small office appear to be a larger medical corporation, that the same person may be using different names as if there is a larger staff and the same for their answering machine. 
 
They accept and handle cases from all over the United States and overseas for Insurance and casualty providers, such as Aig/ CNA Insurance companies, legal professionals and third party administrators, and State of Washington Labor
& Industry claims.
 
Irene Suver states that their reports from simple to complex meet the highest standards in the field.
 
On the internet under Linked they are listed as a medical practice and on their website; www.panelofconsultants.com
they claim they are the oldest medically managed panel in Washington. 
 
Irene Suver on her web site claims their medical and clerical services as well as stating our physicians gives a concern to those that she is a medical organization.
 
The website make claims which are misleading, such as their integrity and meticulous work, that examinees are not required to fill out pages and pages of questionnaires to substitute for history of the injury.

The truth is that they will require all your medical information and records, your personal information, social security number, number of marriages, information on your children, your health information and more which is more extensive than any Medical Office. This information you voluntarily provided, now becomes her property. Instead of being called a questionaire, you will complete lengthy registration forms.

If you are assigned for any exam here....refuse and certainly do not provide any information. Insist on the IME at the Doctor's personal office and not this non provider of medical services.
 
This company does not have any reputation as the work product is dependent on the medical provider they select to perform the exam. The medical provider is alone responsible for the report.
   
They also deny a claimant the right to bring in a nurse legal consultant, audio or to video tape their medical exams, when in fact exams of long shore , federal and other states allow for such medical documentation in exams and in court.
 
The concern in regards to this medical consulting company, is that unknowing claimants and examinees are sent to their medical office at 1001 Broadway, Suite 300 in Seattle Washington under the impression that this is a medical
organization that is providing a medical exam on their injuries and or claim.
 
The claimants and examinees are required to provide extensive amounts of personal, medical information, lifetime job history, duties, vocation, prior medical records, etc. assuming this information is now held and retained by a medical provider when in fact this information is now the property of a for profit corporation that does not have to meet the same standards as a medical care facility or organization.
 
Reports, medical or personal information are not subject to any state regulations or safequards and should there be a future dissolution of this company of the sole officer at such point, it is not subject to any requirements for disposal of personal or medical information.
 
In fact although the company list hippa laws, they are not subject to the same standard requirements as they are not a medical or health care provider and are not regulated or licensed in any manner or jurisdiction.
 
Therefore it would be assumed that any person may file articles of incorporation and be a medical consultant and advertise as such, may outsource their doctors to examine injured workers or claimants.
 
As these medical exams are called independent medical exams, they are in reality called defense medical exams which are used by insurance companies, to deny claims filed by injured workers.
 
One of their methods may be to have an examination by a medical doctor that is not qualified in that particular area of injury and therefore obtain a medical opinion based against the claimant or examinee which denies them their claim at that time or lowers the rating.
 
If you are a claimant with the Department of Labor & Industries or an insurance company or have an exam scheduled for a so called Independent medical Exam, do not provide your medical information, personal history or medical records to this "for profit Corporation."

You can refuse an exam with this non provider and non medical group and insist an exam directly with a Doctor's office that will be held accountable for your medical exam and records. Also never attend one of these exams alone. Bring an educated observer that will only quietly watch, but will write down what the Doctor is doing and the amount of time to examine you.
 
Beware of any non medical group or persons stating in their web sites that they are different and are unbiased and then are offering classes on line on how to lower your injury rating scores.

Beware of anyone including Irene Suver, that is without any medical license or medical training  and a woman in her 50's,  offering online training and online class by her medical consulting company providing a class in Hidden A$$ets: How to proof and Challenge Upper Extremity Ratings.   Washington Self-Insurers Association (www.wsiassn.org/public/advancedWebinar).
 
This would almost give someone the impression that her medical consulting company that states on her website is unbiased etc..and fair as having a hidden agenda of lowering a claimants or examinees injury ratings.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/04/2012 02:55 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Central-Seattle-Panel-of-Consultants-Inc-listed-owner-is-Irene-Suver/Seattle-Washington-98122/Central-Seattle-Panel-of-Consultants-Inc-listed-owner-is-Irene-Suver-Central-Seattle-P-950903. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Central Seattle Panel of Consultants, Inc.

AUTHOR: Irene M. Suver - (United States of America)

This is a response to the "ripoff" report filed October 4, 2012.

1. We are a for-profit corporation. 

2. We are not "exempt from all Washington State regulations".  We are in fact a tightly regulated provider of independent medical evaluations. We are regulated directly by the State of Washington, Department of Labor and Industries and Washington Administrative Code.

3. No corporate entity providing medical services is licensed be the Board of Health. In Washington, the Board of Health and the Department of Health ONLY license medical practitioners and hospitals, not the corporations that manage or own such entities. We are therefore licensed as all such medical corporations are, by the Secretary of State.

4. We have been in "active business" since September 18, 1978.  The company was founded by myself and my father Phillip J. Suver, M.D., whose biography appears on our website. 

5.  I do not have a medical background and have never and will never directly mange or direct our physicians.  Since my father's passing of pancreatic cancer on August 11, 2003, the company has been managed directly by a medical director of his choosing.  Our company has never operated without direct physician oversight by a qualified medical director.  My function has always been and continues to be, to provide the clerical support services for a fully medical operation.

6. The comments regarding our "advertising" on our information website are correct.

7.  It is unclear what the accusation "the same person may be using different name as if there is a larger staff and the same for their answering machine".  This corporation has a clerical staff of 20 and a physician consultants that number around 40-45, depending on availability.  The answering machine (although why that is important is unclear) was recorded by a personal friend with a clear, attractive voice.

8. The comments regarding our referrals are generally correct; however we have never done business with AIG/CNA.  Legal professionals include the plaintiff community.

9.  We state and are the oldest medically manged panel in Washington.  This is a historical and undisputed fact.

10.  We are an organization that provides clerical support to medical professionals. Why this "gives concern she is a medical organization" is unclear.

11.  The fact we do not require examinees to fill out pages and pages of forms speaks to our medical integrity.  We do not obtain our information from forms but directly from the examinee, which is, in fact, the proper, accepted and correct approach to the practice of all medicine, not just independent medical evaluations. Physicians best medical practice is to obtain the entirety of the history from the examinee.

12.  We have been requested by the Department of Labor and Industries to comply with HIPAA, and do in fact do so.  An extensive HIPAA disclosure regarding the use of all medical information is provided in writing to each and every examinee.  It does not, and could not become "her property". 

13. The registrations form is quite short for any medical office, consisting of a single page, front and back, the majority of which is devoted to understanding the injury or illness under review and provide a starting point for taking the history by the physician(s)  The "extensive" questions regarding social and medical information are required by the Department of Labor and Industries for all independent medical examination reports as delineated in the Medical Examiners Handbook which is available to the public through www.lni.wa.gov.  Further, best medical practice requires a complete and social and health history in order to ensure that a complete and thorough understanding of all issues that might impact current status are include din the final opinion. 

14.  The social security number is required, along with identification, in order to verify identity and make sure records remain secure to the examinee and that the person being examined is, indeed, the person who has been scheduled by the referral.  This information also falls under HIPAA and is secured.

14.  The majority of our physicians do not perform IME's in their "personal office".  The clerical, technical support provided by a panel or IME provider supports the physicians work. Further, we perform a large number of multiple examiner evaluations, which requires the space and facility to ensure multiple physicians can perform their evaluations at the same place, at the same time and meet to confer on their conclusions. This is not possible in a private office.

15.  Our reputation, of course rests on the quality of our physicians but it also rests on our clerical support to ensure the final report is a fully complete and correct as possible.  There is a wide variance among IME companies and we are proud of our reputation.  We do believe we are not only the most experienced, (many of our physicians and staff have been with us more than twenty years), but the best. 

16. WE do not "deny the claimant the right to bring in a nurse legal consultant, audio or to video tape their medical exams.  The State of Washington, Department of Labor and Industries WAC as follows:
WAC 296-23-362 - May a worker bring someone with them to an independent medical examination (IME)? (1) Workers can bring an adult friend or family member to the IME to provide comfort and
reassurance. That accompanying person may attend the physical examination but may not attend a psychiatric examination. (2) The accompanying person cannot be compensated for attending the examination by anyone in any manner. (3) The worker may not bring an interpreter to the examination. If interpretive services are needed, the department or self-insurer will provide an interpreter.  (4) The purpose of the IME is to provide information to assist in the determination of the level of any permanent impairment not to conduct an adversarial procedure. Therefore, the accompanying person cannot be:  (a) The worker's attorney, paralegal, any other legal representative, or any other personnel employed by the worker's attorney or legal representative; or (b) The worker's attending doctor, any other provider involved in the worker's care, or
any other personnel employed by the attending doctor or other provider involved in the worker's care.

In terms of longshore, federal, or any other state, the decision whether to permit a lawyer, nurse consultant, audio or video tape is left strictly up to each physician involved. We have frequently had cases where taping or legal accompaniment has been permitted. It is merely a matter of letting us know in advance.

17.  We are NOT treating providers. Therefore, an independent medical evaluation is NEVER a substitute for a visit with your private attending provider. The sole purpose of such evaluations is to assess injuries and illnesses associate with injuries or exposures.  When we discover any secondary injury or illness, (which does happen), we immediately inform the examinees attending physician directly to be certain the possible concerns are instantly addressed.

18.  The information provided is NEVER and CAN NEVER be "the property of a for-profit corporation.  The only exchange of any information is between the referral and panel.  Any document is available to the examinee at any time through the referral, who is responsible for the holding of all records referable to the injury or illness claim.  The records provided for the physicians review is destroyed in a HIPAA compliant manner (by a licensed disposal firm), 30 days after the report is submitted.  The ONLY retained information is the report generated by our physicians at our panel.  These documents (ALL of them) ARE subject to "requirements for disposal of personal or medical information".  We are in full and constant compliance with that information, as indicated above through HIPAA complaince.

19.  While it is true that federal law exempts medical information obtained in the course of an industrial injury, that is not the entirety of our practice and we are, in fact, subject directly to HIPAA for the remainder of our practice.  Further, by the request and requirement of the State of Washington, Department of Labor and Industries, we do comply with HIPAA in all our handling of personal and medical information related to industrial insurance as well. 

20.  The corporation itself does not, and under state law, cannot advertise itself "as a medical consultant"; we are an experienced facilitator of medical consultations, and advertise ourselves as such.

21. "Defense medical exams" is a pejorative term coined to bring independent medical examinations into disrepute.  While we do not deny some of this disrepute has been brought onto the IME provider community justifiably, we vigorously deny that it applies in any way to our firm, which considers our independence our most precious asset.  In fact, preserving our physicians ability to state their opinions without fear of losing a referral is our most important function.  We have fired referrals in the past for attempting to bring opinion pressure to bear on our physicians and will do so without hesitation in the future.  

22.  We never, ever permit a physicians who is "not qualified in that particular are of injury" to address an injury.  In fact, we refer to our medical director claims that may have complex issues to ensure the referral is advised what the correct specialty is to address the injury and current status.  It is an essential and central role of all IME providers to ensure that the most qualified physician address each injury.  This may not be the same specialty as the attending physician.  Frequently, it is our ability to bring multiple qualified experts to the injury that is most sought after.  we scrutinize every referral to make sure the correct physician is on each and every case.  If issues arise during the course of an evaluation, we frequently make additional clinical referrals or testing.

23.  No Washington State Certified Independent Medical Examiner will handle records or accountability differently than our panel.  ALL IME providers are required to meet the same standards and criteria.

24.  One of the clerical areas of expertise we are exceptionally proud of is our ability to proof  ratings.  Myself and my quality assurance staff attend extensive classes yearly on performing  ratings for both the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, fifth edition and the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, sixth edition, as well as the Washington Administrative Codes for Impairment.  We are regularly consulted to review reports by attending physicians, other panels an consultants.  Understanding Impairment rating does not require medical training. In fact, the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment states this clearly "If the clinical findings are fully described any knowledgeable observer may check the findings with the Guides criteria".  It is our mission to ensure that anyone reading an impairment rating report may check the clinical findings to ensure they are complete and correctly rated using the Guides criteria.  We find that the error rate is upwards of 80% in Washington (which was verified by Christopher Brigham, M.D. in his report to the Department in 2003). 

25.  Quite the contrary to the stated implication, the errors we find when doing ratings review fall almost perfectly 50/50; between employer and examinee. When I teach ratings proofing, it is my sole focus to ensure the correct rating is made; I am utterly indifferent to who the winners and losers are -- the truth is, there are huge assets that are being misdirected to both sides.  We consider this a problem of monumental proportions.  When an exam is incomplete or incorrectly rated either way, the examinee suffers; either at the time the impairment award is made, or by an inability to reopen a claim later because the initial impairment award was (previously) too high.

There is no "hidden agenda" in teaching claims and legal personnel how to proof ratings; it is in fact a quest to ensure that precise, fair and complete ratings are performed each and every time.

There is not a single issue addressed here that is not available through our HIPAA compliance documents or could not have been obtained merely by asking these questions. 









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