June 9, 1995
The Division of Workers' Compensation is advising doctors who perform medical evaluations that a proposed revision of the California Permanent Disability Rating Schedule has not yet been adopted and should not be used.
In a letter distributed to all Qualified Medical Evaluators (QMEs), physicians are being told that the use of these proposed guidelines is clearly inappropriate until such time, if ever, they are adopted through the regulatory process, and that their reports will likely be returned as unratable if the guidelines are used.
As part of a proposed overall revision to the permanent disability schedule, guidelines are being developed for rating upper and lower extremities. In order to give maximum opportunity for feedback and possible modification, proposed changes to the schedule were circulated among the workers' compensation community several months ago.
Since then, some limited usage of the proposed work restriction guidelines, including use of individual titles, has been noticed in medical reports received by the Disability Evaluation Unit. Terms in the circulated proposal, such as "Disability Precluding Forceful Activities" or "Substantial Loss of Strength," have no legal meaning unless these guidelines are adopted as part of the schedule. Raters will return as unratable any report which uses the proposed guidelines unless the report can be rated without reference to them.