August 26, 2005

Christine Baker

CHSWC Releases RAND Study on California's Permanent Disability
Rating System

OAKLAND -- The Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) has released An Evaluation of California's Permanent Disability prepared for CHSWC by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. This is the RAND report of the results of an evaluation of how well the "old" permanent disability system in California measured permanent disabilities from workplace injuries and assigned benefits to injured workers. Through earlier interim reports, this research helped guide recent reforms to the California workers' compensation system. The research will help guide continuing implementation of those reforms, which should help minimize unnecessary disputes between injured workers and their employers.

The CHSWC study by RAND assessed the "old" California disability rating process. It examined the extent to which workers with higher ratings for impairments experienced higher earnings losses and the extent to which workers with similar ratings for impairments in different parts of the body suffered similar earnings losses. In addition, it provided insights on how other factors, such as early return to work, affected losses, and it examined the consistency of different physicians' assessments of the same impairment.

CHSWC, created by the workers' compensation reform legislation of 1993, is charged with overseeing the health and safety and workers' compensation systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation. CHSWC was established to conduct a continuing examination of the workers' compensation system and of the state's activities to prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases and to examine those programs in other states.

The CHSWC study by RAND is available at Information about CHSWC may be accessed on the Internet at CHSWC's home page at Information may also be obtained by writing to CHSWC at 1515 Clay Street, Suite 901, Oakland, California, 94612, by calling (510) 622-3959, by faxing a request to (510) 622-3265, or by email at