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Colorado: Physicians Have Flexibility in Setting Impairment Ratings, AMA Guides Are “Starting Point”

April 11, 2021 (1 min read)

Construing Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 101(3)(a)(I) and 101(3.7), pursuant to which impairment ratings in workers’ compensation claims must be “based on” the revised third edition of AMA Guides, a Colorado appellate court said that choice of words meant that the AMA Guides should be “the starting point, but not the exclusive fount, of impairment rating methodology” [Opinion, ¶19]. The physician not only could, but should base his or her opinion of other medical treatment guidelines and utilization standards. The Court stressed that the methodology used by the physician in this case had been taught to, and used, by physicians for more than a decade. The Court also stressed that the use of the term “based on” meant that the state legislature opted to allow a physician discretion in determining the injured employee’s impairment level.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law(LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Fisher v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 2021 COA 27, 2021 Colo. App. LEXIS 337 (Mar 4, 2021)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 80.07.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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