Areas of Expertise by QME Specialty for Non-MD/DO

The information on this page is intended to serve as a reference for the public when choosing QME specialties. The descriptions summarize the areas of expertise that non-MD/DO physicians have typically gained through education, experience, and demonstrated competency.

A QME physician certified by the DWC in a particular specialty characteristically has the knowledge to perform QME evaluations that fall within that specialty’s range of expertise. It is important to be aware that individual physicians vary in their specific knowledge, skills, and expertise.

Certification as a QME affects only the physician’s placement in the pool of QMEs in that particular specialty, but not the ability of the physician to evaluate medical issues that are within his or her scope of practice. The DWC does not regulate other areas of physician practice within the Workers’ Compensation system (e.g., Agreed Medical Evaluator, consultant, or treating physician).

Additional information on physician specialties may be obtained by visiting the websites provided under each specialty. This information available at these websites is not specific to the DWC QME system.

QME specialties are listed below along with the relevant 3-letter code.

Topics covered in this section:
Acupuncture
Chiropractic
Dentistry
Optometry
Podiatry
Psychology
Clinical Neuropsychology

Acupuncture

An acupuncturist may be consulted for specific symptoms and conditions such as pain, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, migraine, menstrual disorders, intestinal disorders, addiction and other conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the above conditions as being responsive to acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is generally categorized as alternative medicine or complementary medicine. Acupuncturists complete at least three years of study beyond their college education and receive a master’s or doctoral degree.

For additional information visit the California Acupuncture Board.

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Chiropractic

Doctors of Chiropractic (chiropractors) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions.  Chiropractors are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches. They may use manipulations or mobilizations (chiropractic adjustments). They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints.   Chiropractors also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification. Chiropractors receive a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree after four to five years of education following their college education.

For more information visit the American Chiropractic Association.

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Dentistry

Dentistry involves the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment (nonsurgical, surgical, or related procedures) of diseases, disorders, and/or conditions of the oral cavity (mouth and related structures), maxillofacial area (jaws and face), and adjacent areas. Dentists receive a doctoral degree (DDS or DMD) in dentistry after attending dental school for four years following their college degree.

For more information, visit the American Dental Association.

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Optometry

Doctors of optometry (optometrists) are primary health care professionals for the eye.  Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye. An optometrist has completed pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of professional education at a college of optometry, leading to the doctor of optometry (OD) degree. Some optometrists complete an optional residency in a specific area of practice.

For more information, visit the American Optometric Association.

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Podiatry

A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon. Podiatrists diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.

Podiatrists complete four years of advanced education after receiving their college degree to receive a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. Podiatrists can specialize in many fields, including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, and diabetic care.

For more information, visit the American Podiatric Medical Association.

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Psychology

Psychologists treat many kinds of problems, including depression, anger, or anxiety. Psychologists help people learn to cope with stressful situations, overcome addictions, manage their chronic illnesses and break past the barriers that keep them from reaching their goals.

Psychologists are also trained to administer and interpret a number of tests and assessments, including neuropsychological tests, that can help diagnose a condition or tell more about the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. These tests may evaluate intellectual skills, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, vocational aptitude and preference, personality characteristics and neuropsychological functioning. A psychologist obtains a doctoral degree in psychology (PhD, PsyD) after four to seven years of advanced education after their college degree.

For more information, visit the American Psychological Association.

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Clinical Neuropsychology

Clinical neuropsychology is a sub-specialty of clinical psychology that specializes in the assessment and treatment of patients with brain injury or disease, for example, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and traumatic brain injury. A clinical neuropsychologist usually holds an advanced degree in clinical psychology (PhD, PsyD), and has completed a clinical internship and specialized post-doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology. Clinical neuropsychologists use their knowledge of brain-behavior relationships and neuropsychological and other tests to diagnose neurobehavioral disorders. They may be involved in the management, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with cognitive impairment. 

For additional information visit the American Board of Professional Psychology.

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August 2015