What is a QME?
A qualified medical evaluator (QME) is a physician who evaluates you when there are questions about what benefits you should receive. A physician must meet educational and licensing requirements to qualify as a QME. They must also pass a test and participate in ongoing education on the workers' compensation evaluation process. If you have an attorney, you and your claims administrator might agree on a doctor to resolve medical disputes. This doctor is called an agreed medical evaluator (AME). An AME or a panel QME will be used to resolve medical disputes in your workers' compensation case.
What is the difference between an AME and a QME?
If you have an attorney, your attorney and the claims administrator may agree on a doctor without going through the state system used to pick a QME. The doctor your attorney and the claims administrator agree on is called an agreed medical evaluator (AME). A QME is picked from a list of state-certified doctors issued by the DWC Medical Unit. QME lists are generated randomly. An AME can only be used if you are represented by an attorney. Once you see an AME you are not entitled to see a QME. An AME may be used regardless of the year of injury. An AME physician may be a QME, but does not have to be one.
What is a panel QME?
In this context, the word panel means a list. A panel QME is a randomly generated list of three QME physicians issued to you when there is a question about whether or not your injury is work related, or if there is a medical dispute that hasn't been resolved by the treating physician's report. Whoever fills out the form to request the panel QME chooses the specialty of the doctors on the panel.
Can I get a new panel because the physicians on the panel are too far away?
No. The Medical Unit cannot replace physicians based on distance from your address and cannot simply choose the physicians closest to you. By law, the QME panel process must be done randomly according to ZIP code. The claims administrator will pay your transportation costs to see the QME.
(Sourced From: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/medicalUnit/faqIW.html)