The American Medical Association Has Announced Newly Revised Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition


Editors Note: Listen to the CompTalk! Radio Program featuring Dr. Chris Brigham speaking extensively on the new AMA Guides. The first of a two part series is now available on, and Part II will be released on January 17, 2008.

San Diego, CA  (CompNewsNetwork) - The newly revised Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition, was released last week by the American Medical Association. The dramatic changes in assessing impairment will be explained in a series of upcoming web-based events and seminars hosted by Brigham and Associates, Inc. (, the international leader in impairment evaluation. Christopher R. Brigham, MD, President of Brigham and Associates, Inc. served as the Senior Contributing Editor for the Sixth Edition and he is Editor of the Guides Newsletter.

This new Edition will become the standard for several state workers’ compensation jurisdictions and for all Longshore and Harbor Workers Acts, Federal, automobile casualty and personal injury cases. Information on the use of the Guides is available at MA_Guides.htm. The changes will impact many stakeholders, including insurers, employers, physicians, attorneys, fact finders and injured workers.

The Sixth Edition applies both terminology from, and an analytical framework based on, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) to generate five impairment classes which permit the rating of the patient from no impairment to most severe. A diagnosis-based grid has been developed for each organ system. The grid arranges commonly used ICD-9 diagnoses within the five classes of impairment severity, according to the consensus-based dominant criterion. Standardized methodology is applied to each chapter to enhance the relevancy of impairment ratings, incorporate functional impact of an injury, improve internal consistency and promote ease of application to the rating process.  The intent of these new approaches is to provide a process for defining impairment that is supportable, high-quality, efficient and effective. 

On January 16 Dr. Brigham commences a five part web-based training program on the use of the Sixth Edition and in February full day seminars on the Sixth Edition will be offered in San Diego, California, Burlington, Vermont, Manchester, New Hampshire, Casper, Wyoming and Anchorage, Alaska. The goals of these programs are to provide insight to the Sixth Edition, to understand how to apply the new methodologies, and to prepare for the impact resulting from this evolution in impairment assessment. The response to the seminars has been reported as excellent reflecting the need to understand the profound changes that have occurred with the Sixth Edition. Overview presentations and further information on the Sixth Edition and these educational offerings is available at

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