You may have heard a doctor, attorney, or a medical or legal assistant use the acronym “MMI” before. As in, “I think your condition is at MMI.”
But what does that mean?
Well, the letters MMI simply stand for “maximum medical improvement”. And, what that phrase means is that to the extent you were or are going to heal from your injury or illness, the healing has occurred, it is done. Looked at from another perspective, further treatment won't be “curative”, it will simply be “palliative”. That is, additional therapy won't cure you, but will only if anything offer you relief from (or a better ability to tolerate) your pain or other symptoms. Like taking an aspirin or other over-the-counter analgesic when you have a toothache – you know the aspirin isn't going to be a cure for the toothache, but hope that it might at least help you tolerate the ache better by dulling the pain for a few hours.
So you may see in a medical record or report: “The patient is at MMI.” The message being, treatment is done. Any further therapy will at best make the patient temporarily feel better, but won't help cure them over the long haul.
Or your attorney may explain to you at the outset of your personal injury case, “We won't collect the bills and medical records and submit a demand letter on your case until you are at MMI.” If you hear that, she or he is telling you, we don't want to try to settle your case too soon – before we know how your recovery will end up, that is, until an accurate prognosis is available from your doctor setting out the likely final outcome for your injury or condition.
You may also hear the phrase “medically stationary” used interchangeably with “MMI” or “maximum medical improvement”. All three concepts refer to the same state of being in the course of a patient's medical care – that is, the patient is at a point to where the healing process is over, and either he or she was fortunate enough to have achieved a full recovery, or alternatively, they didn't fully recover and are just going to have to learn to live with the residual symptoms still present at that point in time.
So hopefully that answers any questions about what it means to be at Maximum Medical Improvement. But if not, feel free to give us a call at Schauermann Thayer. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have concerning any aspect of a personal injury or wrongful death case. It is our business, and we enjoy talking to people and helping them when they need it with respect to injury and insurance claims throughout the states of Oregon and Washington.