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Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)

A.M.A. Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th Edition

Effective May 1, 2009, the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC) will adopt the American Medical Association, Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition, for schedule award entitlement determinations.

The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) does not specify the manner by which a schedule loss under 5 U.S.C. 8107 should be determined. For consistent results and to ensure equal justice under the law to all claimants under the Act, good administrative practice necessitates the use of a single set of tables so that there may be uniform standards applicable to all claimants. DFEC has used the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment standardized tables for this purpose for more than fifty years, dating back to the first Guide for Extremities and Back published in February 1958. The Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) has long concurred in this adoption as a standard for evaluating schedule losses and the Guides have proven a useful tool in measuring schedule impairment under FECA.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has periodically issued new editions of the Guides in order to keep pace with advances in medical treatment, diagnoses and philosophy. The stated goal of each new edition is to provide a fair and authoritative impairment guide based on the most recent medical advances. As injuries sustained by individuals covered by the FECA run a very wide gamut and so that injured workers have the benefit of the most current medical thinking, DFEC has consistently adopted each new edition of the Guides as it became available. In order to consider injured workers' permanent impairment in light of the most recent medical treatment evolution, DFEC has consistently adopted each new edition of the Guides as the standard in determining percentage of impairment, and DFEC's decision to adopt the Sixth Edition is in keeping with this long history of use. FECA Bulletin 09-03 (issued March 15, 2009) sets forth DFEC's implementation of the Sixth Edition of the Guides. This bulletin is available on-line at www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/procedure-manual.htm.