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. In Iowa, impairment ratings are determined by the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition. It uses a kind of grid system for specific ailments to give doctors a range of impairment to choose from. The impairment rating can be found in Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
In Iowa, after a doctor initially treats a work injury, the worker eventually reaches the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). At that point, the worker may be assigned an impairment rating, which affects his or her permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Doctors assign the worker an impairment rating that assesses the extent of the worker’s disability.
If a worker disagrees with the doctor’s impairment rating, he can request an independent medical examination (IME) at the employer’s expense. The injured worker would fill out Form 100A – Petition for Independent Medical Examination. The claimant will include information about the original physician who issued the impairment rating and will attach the appropriate records. The form must include information about the name of the physician who will perform the IME as well as the date and location of the exam.