Review of AMA’s impairment rating guidelines

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 18, 2008

Last December the American Medical Association (AMA) released their sixth edition of impairment rating guidelines.  The guidelines are used to rate permanent disability (PD) in California.  

The Commission on Health and Safety on Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC), which is represented by both labor and business, is currently reviewing the new guidelines and will likely make a recommendation to the Division of Workers’ Compensation on whether to adopt the Sixth Edition’s guidelines.  

California has no statutory deadline to adopt the new guidelines.  Susan Gard, Chief of Legislation and Policy for the Div. of Workers’ Compensation, told "workcompcentral", a trade magazine, that "she was not aware of anyone in California who is pushing for a move to the Sixth Edition."  There are about a dozen states which are directed by statue to adopt the use of "the current or most recent" edition of the AMA guidelines.  Therefore, states like Wyoming, Vermont and Iowa have already begun to use the sixth edition to rate impairment.  California will likely face a thorough and long process of review before changing editions, which is not uncommon.  At least 10 states still use the fourth edition and two even use the third edition.

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