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Pennsylvania: Statute Requiring Use of AMA Guides, 6th Ed., Struck Down

September 25, 2015 (1 min read)







In a sharply divided decision, a Pennsylvania appellate court held that the statutory provision in § 306(a.2) of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act that requires physicians to utilize “the most recent” edition of the AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment in determining the level of an injured employee’s permanent impairment is an improper delegation of legislative authority and, accordingly, is unconstitutional. The majority noted that in 1996, when the statute was modified to require the use of the AMA Guides, 4th Edition, the Legislature had examined the Guides and determined that it conformed with public policy. Adopting subsequent editions as the standard, without an examination and determination that they were consistent with the state’s interests was improper, however. The majority noted that the Legislature could delegate authority and discretion in connection with the execution and administration of a law to an independent agency or an executive branch agency where it had first established primary standards and imposed upon others the duty to carry out its declared legislative policy. Section 306(a.2) went too far, however. It provided a private party—the AMA—with carte blanche authority to implement its own policies and standards and then required the state to adopt them sight unseen.

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. Bracketed citations link to

See Protz v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Derry Area Sch. Dist.), 2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 404 (Sept. 18, 2015) [2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 404 (Sept. 18, 2015)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 80.07 [80.07]

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see–6th-ed/

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









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