Problems with AMA Guide to Impairment

Many members of Congress are concerned about a problem that affects hundreds of thousands of injured workers around the country in over 38 states, including Indiana, and those workers that are covered by the Federal Employee's Compensation Act and the Longshore and Harbor Worker's Act and its various extensions including the Defense Base Act.

Since the early 1970s, the AMA has developed and published a rating guide for impairment that has been adopted by many states and the U.S. Department of Labor. There have been many complaints, especially with regard to the Sixth Edition, about the difficulty of using the AMA rating system, the lack of transparency in its development and the question of who are the developers and what are their connections, if any, to the many interested parties involved in the workers compensation industry.

Because of these concerns, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey convened a hearing on November 17, 2010 of the House's Subcommittee on Workforce Protection and heard testimony from a number of witnesses on these issues. The case was clearly made that the Sixth Edition of the AMA guides is an unfair and inappropriate deviation from all of the past guides, that the process of using any guides as a measure of disability in workers compensation cases should be reevaluated and that many states systems of worker compensation have suffered a substantial lowering of benefit amounts for injured workers and/or severe limitations in eligibility.