The AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (Guides) is a well-known standard for quantifying the medical loss associated with an injury or illness. Hawaii workers’ compensation system uses the fifth edition of the AMA Guides Edition of the American Medical
Association (AMA) Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The impairment rating can be found under Hawaii’s workers’ compensation law HI Rev Stat § 386-32 (2013).
In Hawaii, once an injured worker attains the point of stability or maximum medical recovery possible, the worker may be sent to a physician to evaluate the extent of any permanent impairment. The evaluation is used to determine the extent of the disability, which in turn determines the amount to be paid to the employee for that disability. This is called a PPD award. PPD award is an indemnity benefit and is payable even if the worker is able to return to work.
In Hawaii, except for medical benefit and vocational rehabilitation benefit, all other benefit categories are indemnity benefits. An indemnity benefit is calculated by multiplying a weekly benefit rate by the number of weeks allowed. The weekly benefit rate for PPD (both scheduled and unscheduled) is the state’s maximum weekly benefit amount set at 100 percent of the state’s average weekly wage.