Before, during, or after any hearing, the commissioner or a compensation judge may make an independent investigation of the facts alleged in the petition or answer.
The compensation judge assigned to a matter, or the commissioner, may appoint one or more neutral physicians or surgeons to examine the injury of the employee and report thereon except as provided otherwise pursuant to section 176.1361. Where necessary to determine the facts, the services of other experts may also be employed.
The report of a physician, surgeon, or other expert shall be filed with the commissioner and the compensation judge assigned to the matter if any. The report shall be made a part of the record of the case and be open to inspection as such.
The commissioner or compensation judge shall fix the compensation of a physician, surgeon, or other expert whose services are employed under this chapter. This compensation shall be paid initially out of the funds appropriated for the maintenance of the Workers' Compensation Division, but shall be taxed as costs to either party, or both, or otherwise, as the commissioner or compensation judge directs.
Where a sum which has been taxed to a party has not been paid, it may be collected in the same manner as are costs generally.