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Kansas: 6th Edition of AMA Guides to Impairment Passes Constitutional Muster

January 19, 2021 (1 min read)

The language in Kan. Stat. Ann. 2019 Supp. § 44-510e(a)(2)(B) requiring use of the 6th Edition of the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment should reasonably be interpreted as a "guideline," and not a "mandate," held the Supreme Court of Kansas. Under the statute, the injured employee was nevertheless required to establish his or her level of impairment by "competent medical evidence." The Kansas high court accordingly found that the state's Court of Appeals had erred when it struck down as unconstitutional the use of the 6th Edition of the Guides. Speaking for the Court, Justice Stegall stressed that "on the way to its conclusion" that the language requiring that impairment ratings for injuries occurring on and after January 1, 2015, be based on the Sixth Edition was unconstitutional, the panel interpreted the statute as doing away with the requirement that the percentage of functional impairment the employee sustained on account of the injury must be established by competent medical evidence. No such change had occurred.

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 Johnson v. United States Food Serv., 2021 Kan. LEXIS 2 (Jan. 8, 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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