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Impairment Rating

Recently, the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner refused to accept the most current edition of the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Medical Impairment. The Sixth Edition is believed to be much less favorable for injured workers. Several States have already moved to adopt the Fifth Edition, and to reject the Sixth Edition of the Guides. Section 876-2.4 of the Iowa Administrative Code now provides specifically that the Fifth Edition of the Guides is the appropriate source of impairment ratings, not the Sixth Edition.

When your treating doctor has decided that you have recovered as much as you will recover, the doctor is supposed to determine if there is any permanent medical impairment. If the doctor does not do that, the insurance carrier and employer have a duty to obtain that from the treating doctor. If the treating doctor simply won’t prepare an opinion on the impairment rating, the employer and insurance carrier have a duty to promptly obtain a rating from some other doctor.

If you are not satisfied with the impairment rating, you have the right to choose your own doctor, to examine you at the employer and insurance carrier’s expense, under Section 85.39 of the Iowa Code. That procedure is called an Independent Medical Examination . If they refuse to consent to such an examination, the State agency can order them to pay for such an examination.

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