Medical care providers should be familiar with the
terminology that is generally used in workers' compensation. Following are some
of the terms used in the medical care field by providers when reporting the
treatment of injured workers.
AGGRAVATION--Usually implies a fresh incident
producing additional impairment to a previously injured anatomical region.
Aggravations are usually not temporary.
AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION GUIDES--The most
widely used methods of rating functional impairment. They are a system of
rating anatomical impairments for injured workers.
APPORTIONMENT--refers to the permanent disability
benefits from part of the disability resulting from one injury and part from
another, which may or may not have been work related. Causation is not
apportioned and the cost of medical and temporary disability usually is not
CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROME--A subconscious psychological
stress state prolonging pain through operate conditioning and pain
CUMULATIVE TRAUMA--The concept that repeated minor
stresses either of a small or inconsequential nature over a period of time
result in an injury or disability.
DISABILITY--Sometimes confused with impairment.
Disability represents how an impairment combined with the person's age,
educational background, vocational background and other factors affect an
injured workers' ability to return to work. Impairment is one part of assigning
an overall disability.
EMPLOYABILITY--A term which defines or is used to
express whether or not a person is employable in certain fields or in the
general labor market.
EXACERBATION--A temporary flareup of something
related to a pre-existing condition, usually after an injury but recedes to its
former level within a reasonable period of time.
FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY EVALUATION--Testing of a
person's specific physical activities, of lifting, bending, pushing, pulling,
etc., and the relationship to the ability to perform the demands of various
GATEKEEPER--A physician whose approval is required
for a patient to seek special medical care or treatment.
HANDICAPPED--Sometimes confused with disability and
impairment and is used interchangeably with these terms. Handicapped is
generally defined as an impairment that can be overcome by some type of
reasonable accommodation to the impairment.
IMPAIRMENT--A medical term which is sometimes
confused with disability. Impairment is what is anatomically or physically
wrong with an individual and is a means where the medical care provider assigns
a numerical rating for whatever type of bodily function has been lost.
PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY (PPD)--Generally means
that the injured worker cannot return to the same type of work that he was
doing before his injury and that he has a permanent impairment which limits his
ability to do the work that he was doing before the accident.
PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY (PTD)--Generally means
that a person is unable to do any type of work of any kind and that person is
completely and permanently incapable of engaging in any type of substantial
TEMPORARY PARTIAL DISABILITY (TPD)--Generally means
that the injured workers is only able to do some type of limited work for a
short period of time and that further recovery is expected.
TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY (TTD)--Generally means
that a person is unable to do any type of work for a temporary period of time.
Workers' compensation payments are usually paid while the injured worker is out