AMA Guides to Permanent Impairment

by | Jul 16, 2023 | Blog

As medical professionals, it is essential to be aware of the various resources available in our field to provide the best possible care to our patients. One such resource is the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. These guides are essential documents that help doctors to conduct accurate and consistent evaluations of permanent impairments. In this blog post, we will have a closer look at the AMA guides to the evaluation of permanent impairment and why they are critical to medical professionals.  

The AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment are a series of books developed and published by the American Medical Association. These guides outline the standards to evaluate the degree of an injury or sickness. These degrees are used to measure the extent of functional loss and to determine if there is any permanent damage. The guides aim to provide fair and accurate evaluations, regardless of where the claimant is treated and regardless of who conducts the evaluation. The latest version is the Sixth Edition that was released in 2007.  

The AMA guides provide a common language for discussing the extent of physical impairments. They are used by physicians, insurance companies, lawyers, and judges in the evaluation of the severity of disabilities. The guides outline specific criteria for evaluating impairment in different clinical areas. Some of these include mental functioning, musculoskeletal system, skin, and sensory organs. The guides provide helpful tables, diagrams, and flowcharts that make the evaluation process easier and more consistent. 

 The AMA guides also emphasize the importance of a structured evaluation process. The evaluation should be done by a qualified professional who has experience with the specific type of injury or condition. The evaluation should take place in a setting that is conducive to conducting a comprehensive evaluation. Comprehensive evaluation should include taking the patient’s medical history, performing physical and mental examinations, conducting diagnostic tests, and evaluating the patient’s ability to function in various activities.  

Another essential feature of the AMA guides is their emphasis on functional impairments. In contrast to medical impairments, functional impairments are the adverse effects that arise from medical impairments. For example, a person with a spinal cord injury may have a medical impairment, but their functional impairment may be their inability to walk. Evaluating functional impairments explicitly is critical to accurately assess disabilities and handicaps.  

Medical professionals should have a working knowledge of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. They are an essential resource for assessing a patient’s degree of permanent functional loss, and they provide a common language for discussing and evaluating physical impairments. Conducting a comprehensive evaluation using the guidelines in these guides enables medical professionals to provide accurate and consistent evaluations. In short, following the AMA guides ensures that the evaluation process is fair and that accurate and consistent evaluations of permanent impairments are conducted. 



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