Body Member Impairments: Scheduled Awards and the Federal Employees' Compensation Act
Christopher R. Brigham
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This article focuses on the use of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides) in evaluating Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) scheduled loss cases for an accepted work-related condition. Effective May 1, 2009, the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC), which administers FECA, adopted the AMA Guides, Sixth Edition, noting that DFEC has used the AMA Guides for more than fifty years, dating back to the first Guide for Extremities and Back (1958). The scheduled award provision of the OWCP FECA and implementing regulations set forth the number of weeks of compensation to be paid for permanent loss, or loss of use, of body members listed in the schedule. The FECA regulations that define impairment are consistent with the definition provided in the AMA Guides, Sixth Edition, except for impairments of the lungs. Also, pain is included as a component of the medical condition (diagnosis) and should not be measured separately unless the pain does not correlate with objective findings or bodily dysfunction. The article includes several special determinations under FECA, including loss of body parts, loss of hearing or vision, loss of function of bodily organs, lung impairment, and impairments in other organs.

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