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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Opposition Continues to Swell Against Utilization of the AMA Guides 6th ed

Resistance continues to mount against adoption of the AMA Guides to Impairment 6th edition. Joining the growing chorus of opposition are John Burton, a leading expert in workers' compensation, and the Attorney General of Tennessee who issued an opinion against adoption of the 6th Edition.

Workers’ compensation expert, John Burton, at a presentation to the NY State Workers’ Compensation Board expressed his disfavor in adoption to the AMA Guides 6h edition to determine disability. He recommended that all 40 US State jurisdictions and Canada abandon the AMA Guides altogether.

Burton said, "My concern about the AMA guide ... is that it's simply not evidence-based. It's ignoring the evidence that's available to do it right," "I think the AMA has now shown it's incapable of doing it right and this thing ought to be referred to the Institute of Medicine to look at this issue and figure out how to do a decent rating system."

Additionally, the automatic adoption of the AMA Guides 6th Ed. is unconstitutional states Attorney General of the State of Tennessee. “While there is not any controlling authority in Tennessee on this issue, and while Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-102(2) is defensible, this provision is vulnerable to attack as an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority in violation of Tenn. Const. art. II, § 3, because by making the “most recent” edition of the AMA Guides that is in effect on the date of the employee’s compensable injury the applicable edition, § 50-6-102(2) may be construed as incorporating future changes of the AMA Guides to Tennessee’s statutory scheme.”

As the debate continues concerning the adoption of the AMA Guides to Impairment 6th Ed. the issue continues to focus on whether the AMA Guides to Impairment should be utilized at all to determine disability in at all in a workers’ compensation claim.

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