State News : Texas

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

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The Appeals Panel considered whether a designated doctor properly assigned IR based on range of motion (ROM) measurements of a Claimant’s right knee. In his report, the DD recorded 100 degrees of flexion and 10 degrees of flexion contracture of the knee. According to Table 41 of the Guides, these measurements correspond to 4% whole person impairment for flexion and 8% whole person impairment for extension/flexion contracture. The DD did not add the two whole person impairments together (4% plus 8%), but, rather, the DD assigned a whole person IR of 8%. The issue on appeal was whether the AMA Guides required the DD to combine the whole person IR of each angle of the knee joint. The Appeals Panel concluded the AMA Guides do not require the ROM deficits to be combined to increase the impairment for a single joint. Rather, it was within the DD’s discretion as a matter of medical judgment to not combine the different angles of loss of ROM of Claimant’s knee. The DD’s 8% IR was in accordance with the Guides.

Appeal No. 132734, dated Jan. 9, 2014.