Commonly asked questions
Who is mlcoa?
mlcoa is the largest provider of independent medical opinions in Australia. These opinions are gained from medical assessments, conducted by specialists who are experts in their field. The assessments may take place at mlcoa consulting suites, or in a specialist’s own consulting rooms.
Are you still open during COVID-19?
Our premises are operating with robust screening and management protocols, in line with expert advice on good hygiene, social distancing and other authoritative information for the health sector. Further information is available in our COVID-19 frequently asked questions document.
What is an Independent Medical Assessment or Independent Medical Examination?
An independent medical assessment, or independent medical examination, (often called an IMA or IME) is performed by a medical specialist (sometimes referred to as a medical examiner) to evaluate and provide an opinion about your injury or illness.
After the IME, the medical specialist will compile a report from all the personal and medical information obtained and provide this report to the organisation who made the referral.
Why have I been sent for an independent medical assessment or examination?
To gain clarity about your health condition.
The medical specialist who conducts the assessment will have a set of specific questions about your injury or illness that require answers. The medical specialist’s duty is to provide a detailed report on your condition. They are unable to provide you with guidance or discuss treatment as you would expect from your own medical practitioner.
What should I expect during an Independent Medical Assessment?
You may find the assessment is conducted more formally than an appointment with your own GP and it may include questions that are not usually asked in a GP setting. In the assessment, the medical specialist will interview you and take a medical history and, if necessary, will conduct a physical examination.
Most assessments take up to an hour, but appointments related to some medical conditions may be longer – you will be told if this is the case.
What is an independent medical specialist?
An independent medical specialist is an expert in diagnosing and advising about conditions such as yours.
The specialist is not an employee of any insurance company, legal firm or your employer. They are independent contractors that will prepare a report based on all the facts presented to them. The specialist cannot give you treatment and has no vested interest in the advice they provide.
What will the medical specialist ask me?
The medical specialist will ask you questions about your physical and/or psychological condition.
You will be asked questions about your medical problems, including when and how they started and their progression. Questions will also be asked about medical tests and treatments you have had in the past.
You may also need to answer questions about your personal, social and recreational life. This is to allow us to fully understand your situation and how your injury could be affecting your life. This type of information is very important to the overall medical assessment.
What if I can’t answer all the questions?
That’s OK. Simply answer the questions as best as you can. Be honest and straightforward, as the aim is to get a complete picture of your injury or medical condition.
Will the medical specialist physically examine me?
A physical examination may be needed, depending on your condition or injury. If so, you may take a friend or relative with you for support. Alternatively, mlcoa can provide a chaperone on your request.
The specialist will not expect you to do anything that would cause pain.
All of our medical specialists are experienced professionals who carry out examinations with integrity and discretion, and gowns and screens are available for your use.
What should I wear?
Wear clothes that are comfortable and suitable. Where possible, dress to suit the physical condition being assessed:
- Spine – loose shirt
- Shoulders – sleeveless shirt
- Hands/elbows – short-sleeved shirt
- Hips – bike pants, shorts, loose trousers
- Knees – shorts, bike pants, skirt, loose trousers
- Feet – shorts, skirt, loose trousers, easily removable shoes
If a physical examination is needed, you may need to remove some clothing to provide access to the required body area. If this is the case, gowns will be provided.
What should I take to the appointment?
- A form of photo identification, such as your driver’s licence or passport
- Any X-Rays, scans, MRI films or medical reports
- Your medications or a list of your medications
What happens when I arrive for my appointment?
As with any important appointment, please arrive at mlcoa at least 15 minutes before the appointment start time. A friendly receptionist will ask for photo identification to verify your identity and then to read and sign a consent form before the appointment can start. The consent form allows mlcoa to collect, hold, use and disclose your personal and health information, in the form of a report, to the organisation that made the appointment for you. Please note, your personal information and medical records will be held and stored by mlcoa, not by the medical specialist who conducts the assessment.
Can I bring someone with me?
We understand that an assessment can be an unfamiliar experience. As such, a chaperone can be arranged.
In some instances, you are able to bring a relative or friend to the mlcoa consulting suites for support. Please be advised, though, that your friend or relative can only actively participate in the assessment if invited to do so by the medical specialist conducting the assessment.
We also kindly ask that you make arrangements for your children to be cared for by another person during the assessment as it is difficult to accommodate the needs of young children for the amount of time involved.
Please view our support policy for further information.
Who has access to the information that I have given to the medical specialist during the assessment?
The information you give to the medical specialist will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected – your assessment. The medical specialist will use the information to write a report which will then be submitted to the organisation that referred you for the assessment.
If you would like a copy of that report please directly contact your case manager or the organisation that referred you, in the first instance. Please note that the report will normally be completed and provided to the referrer about 10 days after your appointment.
Is my information secure?
Yes. We respect your privacy by treating all your personal and sensitive information as confidential and by managing it in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Australian Privacy Principles and other relevant state and territory laws.
Can I record the appointment?
According to law, the appointment cannot be recorded by anyone unless by prior agreement. If a recording of the assessment has been agreed it will be conducted by an independent third party who will provide both you and mlcoa with a copy of the recording; neither you, your accompanying person, mlcoa or the medical specialist is allowed to make a recording of the assessment. The taping of a psychiatric assessment is not permitted. Please refer to our policy if you require further information.