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AMA announces appointment of panel to update permanent impairment evaluation guides

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Chicago — The American Medical Association has appointed a 13-member editorial panel of physicians and allied health professionals to oversee updates to the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment – used to help determine compensation for injured workers.

In a Sept. 18 press release, AMA states that the panel is important to developing a new, transparent process, driven by stakeholders, to maintain and enhance the guides with timely developments based on current science and evidence-based medical practice.

For more than five decades, the AMA Guides have been used as a source for physicians, patients and regulators to determine fair and consistent impairment rating information and tools, according to AMA’s website. Impairment ratings and impairment rating reports produced using the guides are used to determine compensation for patients with work-related injuries or illnesses that have resulted in a reduction of body function or loss of use of an injured body part long term.

“As new medical innovations become available, patient outcomes continue to improve,” Mark Melhorn, panel co-chair, said in the release. “It is important that the impairment process reflect those changes. Using the most current evidence-based science is critical.”

The panel also will help modernize the guides by reducing physician burden and improving the quality and consistency of evaluations, the release states.

The guides have been adopted by 40 states and several foreign countries, according to AMA.

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