April 22, 2015

Resuming 5 CDWC Guidelines for Making Impairment Ratings (Pt. 1), here, we will continue pointing out the main principles that doctors should rely on when making impairment ratings for injured workers, according to the Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation (CDWC).

More CDWC Guidelines for Issuing Impairment Ratings

3 – AMA Definitions & Guidelines

Another pivotal guiding principle that physicians should use when making impairment ratings, according to the CDWC, is the definition of impairment from the American Medical AssociationAMA guidelines are among the things that doctors should rely on when making impairment ratings. Here’s why. Contact our Denver workers compensation lawyer for help if you’ve been hurt at work. (AMA, Guides 3rd Edition, rev.). Specifically, this definition is as follows:

An impairment is “the loss of, loss of use of, or derangement of any body part, system, or function.”

The CDWC has been careful to point out, however, that doctors should be especially careful when using the AMA’s definition/impairment guidelines for those who have recently undergone invasive treatment procedures (e.g., surgeries). This is because, as the CDWC notes, although a worker may initially fit the definition of impairment spelled out above due to having had surgery, there may not be a permanent impairment impacting the worker (due to the surgery/recovery).

So, the CDWC says that, in these cases, “it is incumbent on the rating physician to perform the necessary testing as appropriate in the Guides for the condition which was treated by the invasive procedure.” In other words, the condition/body part that the surgery was intended to treat should be the focus of the application of AMA guidelines (and not the fact that a surgery occurred).

4 – “Rounding” impairment ratings

Interestingly, the CDWC does not always agree with AMA Guides for impairment ratings. In fact, while the AMA suggests that doctors rounds impairment ratings to the nearest whole number ending in “0” or “5,” the CDWC instead recommends that doctors round impairment ratings:

  • “Up or down to the nearest whole number when presenting the final rating”
  • Up when the rating ends in “0.50.”

5 – Worksheets

Once an impairment rating has been issued, the CDWC explains that the physician should attach “all related worksheets to the narrative report,” which will be transmitted to the legally concerned parties (who will typically include the injured worker, the employers’ insurance company, the employer and the CDWC).

These worksheets and related documents should back up the doctor’s conclusions regarding the impairment rating issued, providing all of the necessary details explaining that the nature and severity of the injured worker’s permanent partial disability have been accurately and appropriately assessed.

Denver Workers Compensation Lawyer at the Bisset Law Firm

Have you been injured at work? If so, Denver Workers Compensation Lawyer Jennifer Bisset wants you to know that she is here to aggressively advocate your rights and help you obtain the benefits you need and deserve.

To find out more about how Denver Workers Compensation Lawyer Jennifer Bisset can help you, contact our firm today by calling (303) 894-8900. You can also email our firm using the contact form on the right side of this page. From her office based in Denver, Jennifer Bisset provides superior legal services to injured people throughout Denver County and the state of Colorado.