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Florida: JCC Correctly Disregarded Portion of EMA’s Opinion

March 23, 2018 (1 min read)

The Judge of Compensation Claims appropriately disregarded the expert medical advisor’s (EMA’s) opinion that a claimant had a permanent impairment rating of at least 15 percent, as provided in the Class 2 classification of arrhythmias under the 1996 Florida Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Schedule (Guide). The EMA had been appointed because of a disagreement among physicians as to whether the claimant’s PIR was a Class 1 or Class 2. The JCC rejected the EMA's opinion of a Class 2 PIR, because it disagreed that an ablation procedure was the same type of procedure as the implantation of an artificial pacemaker. The JCC also disagreed with the EMA that aspirin is a drug. The EMA's testimony acknowledged that his views in assigning the PIR incorporated a "spirit of the guidelines" view versus adhering to the Guide's "letter of the word." The court said it was true that the Guide granted some leeway to physicians to rate impairments, in this case cardiac arrhythmia was expressly included in the Guide. The Court reversed, however, because the JCC had incorrectly ruled that aspirin was not a drug, for the purposes of the statute.

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Rodriguez v. Tallahassee Fire Dep’t, 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 3677 (1st DCA, Mar. 15, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.02.

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