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Impairment rating ambiguity in the United States: the Utah Impairment Guides for calculating workers' compensation impairments.

Colledge A, Hunter B, Bunkall LD, Holmes EB - J. Korean Med. Sci. (2009)

Bottom Line: The Utah Supplemental Guides to the AMA Guides have been effective in increasing consistency in rating impairment.It is estimated that litigation of permanent impairment has fallen below 1% and Utah is now one of the least costly states for obtaining workers' compensation insurance, while maintaining a medical fee schedule above the national average.Utah's guides serve as a model for national or international impairment guides.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Orthopaedic, Central Utah Clinic, Labor Commission of Utah, Utah 84111, USA. acolledge@utah.gov

ABSTRACT
Since the implementation of workers' compensation, accurately and consistently rating impairment has been a concern for the employee and employer, as well as rating physicians. In an attempt to standardize and classify impairments, the American Medical Association (AMA) publishes the AMA Guides ("Guides"), and recently published its 6th edition of the AMA Guides. Common critiques of the AMA Guides 6th edition are that they are too complex, lacking in evidence-based methods, and rarely yield consistent ratings. Many states mandate use of some edition of the AMA Guides, but few states are adopting the current edition due to the increasing difficulty and frustration with their implementation. A clearer, simpler approach is needed. Some states have begun to develop their own supplemental guides to combat problems in complexity and validity. Likewise studies in Korea show that past methods for rating impairment are outdated and inconsistent, and call for measures to adapt current methods to Korea's specific needs. The Utah Supplemental Guides to the AMA Guides have been effective in increasing consistency in rating impairment. It is estimated that litigation of permanent impairment has fallen below 1% and Utah is now one of the least costly states for obtaining workers' compensation insurance, while maintaining a medical fee schedule above the national average. Utah's guides serve as a model for national or international impairment guides.

Show MeSH
This figure demonstrates injury recovery for an individual who shows permanent impairment. The left-hand coordinate measures wellness or impairment, with the abbreviation imp representing impairment. The right-hand coordinate measures time. The recovery path from Fig. 1 is shown in comparison to a patient who plateaus in their recovery period at less than 100% wellness. The difference between the patient's plateau and 100% wellness is defined as impairment.
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Figure 2: This figure demonstrates injury recovery for an individual who shows permanent impairment. The left-hand coordinate measures wellness or impairment, with the abbreviation imp representing impairment. The right-hand coordinate measures time. The recovery path from Fig. 1 is shown in comparison to a patient who plateaus in their recovery period at less than 100% wellness. The difference between the patient's plateau and 100% wellness is defined as impairment.

Mentions: Not all measured impairments are directly related to a specific event and an apportionment to other identified preexisting conditions is at times needed (Fig. 2).


Impairment rating ambiguity in the United States: the Utah Impairment Guides for calculating workers' compensation impairments.

Colledge A, Hunter B, Bunkall LD, Holmes EB - J. Korean Med. Sci. (2009)

This figure demonstrates injury recovery for an individual who shows permanent impairment. The left-hand coordinate measures wellness or impairment, with the abbreviation imp representing impairment. The right-hand coordinate measures time. The recovery path from Fig. 1 is shown in comparison to a patient who plateaus in their recovery period at less than 100% wellness. The difference between the patient's plateau and 100% wellness is defined as impairment.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2690067&req=5

Figure 2: This figure demonstrates injury recovery for an individual who shows permanent impairment. The left-hand coordinate measures wellness or impairment, with the abbreviation imp representing impairment. The right-hand coordinate measures time. The recovery path from Fig. 1 is shown in comparison to a patient who plateaus in their recovery period at less than 100% wellness. The difference between the patient's plateau and 100% wellness is defined as impairment.
Mentions: Not all measured impairments are directly related to a specific event and an apportionment to other identified preexisting conditions is at times needed (Fig. 2).

Bottom Line: The Utah Supplemental Guides to the AMA Guides have been effective in increasing consistency in rating impairment.It is estimated that litigation of permanent impairment has fallen below 1% and Utah is now one of the least costly states for obtaining workers' compensation insurance, while maintaining a medical fee schedule above the national average.Utah's guides serve as a model for national or international impairment guides.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Orthopaedic, Central Utah Clinic, Labor Commission of Utah, Utah 84111, USA. acolledge@utah.gov

ABSTRACT
Since the implementation of workers' compensation, accurately and consistently rating impairment has been a concern for the employee and employer, as well as rating physicians. In an attempt to standardize and classify impairments, the American Medical Association (AMA) publishes the AMA Guides ("Guides"), and recently published its 6th edition of the AMA Guides. Common critiques of the AMA Guides 6th edition are that they are too complex, lacking in evidence-based methods, and rarely yield consistent ratings. Many states mandate use of some edition of the AMA Guides, but few states are adopting the current edition due to the increasing difficulty and frustration with their implementation. A clearer, simpler approach is needed. Some states have begun to develop their own supplemental guides to combat problems in complexity and validity. Likewise studies in Korea show that past methods for rating impairment are outdated and inconsistent, and call for measures to adapt current methods to Korea's specific needs. The Utah Supplemental Guides to the AMA Guides have been effective in increasing consistency in rating impairment. It is estimated that litigation of permanent impairment has fallen below 1% and Utah is now one of the least costly states for obtaining workers' compensation insurance, while maintaining a medical fee schedule above the national average. Utah's guides serve as a model for national or international impairment guides.

Show MeSH