Abstract

The AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides), Sixth Edition, was published in December 2007 and is the result of efforts to enhance the relevance of impairment ratings, improve internal consistency, promote precision, and simplify the rating process. The revision process was designed to address shortcomings and issues in previous editions and featured an open, well-defined, and tiered peer review process. The principles underlying the AMA Guides have not changed, but the sixth edition uses a modified conceptual framework based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), a comprehensive model of disablement developed by the World Health Organization. The ICF classifies domains that describe body functions and structures, activities, and participation; because an individual's functioning and disability occur in a context, the ICF includes a list of environmental factors to consider. The ICF classification uses five impairment classes that, in the sixth edition, were developed into diagnosis-based grids for each organ system. The grids use commonly accepted consensus-based criteria to classify most diagnoses into five classes of impairment severity (normal to very severe). A figure presents the structure of a typical diagnosis-based grid, which includes ranges of impairment ratings and greater clarity about choosing a discreet numerical value that reflects the impairment.

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