Abstract

In the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides), Sixth Edition, range of motion (ROM) is used to calculate the physical examination modifier when the diagnosis-based impairment (DBI) method is used, ie, Table 15-8, Physical Examination Adjustment: Upper Extremities, and Table 16-7, Physical Examination Adjustment: Lower Extremities. The DBI method is preferable for calculating upper and lower extremity ratings, but in instances specified by the regional grid, the evaluator may choose to use the ROM method, typically because it yields a higher impairment rating. The article outlines the steps for measuring ROM. Invalid results on the day of testing are declared after three consecutive efforts if the three measurements for a given plane of motion vary by more than 10 degrees from the average (mean) of these three measurements. The process can be tried again another day, or the DBI method can be used. All ROM measurements should be rounded to the nearest number ending in zero, and a figure provides examples of suitable annotations. Adjustments for functional history can be made if ROM is the only method used for rating, if results are deemed reliable and consistent with results from an activities of daily living questionnaire or other valid functional report, and if the current ROM impairment does not adequately capture the full impairment.

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