Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner Deputy Applies Upper Extremity Rating to Shoulder

  • Dec 19, 2018

 Legal Update by Attorney Alison Stewart

In a recent decision by Iowa Workers’ Compensation Deputy Erin Pals, Reiter v. Incorporated City of Remsen, the agency determined it is appropriate to apply the upper extremity functional rating to shoulder injuries now that shoulders have been identified as a scheduled member injury under the post July 1, 2017 workers’ compensation legislation. Deputy Pals reasoned that the table consulted by the rating physician could be found in Chapter 16 of the 5th Edition AMA Guidelines, which is entitled “The Upper Extremities,” and historically the agency has not utilized whole person impairment ratings for a single scheduled member injury. The full decision can be found here: http://decisions.iowaworkforce.org/2018/October/Reiter,%20Craig-5059413d.pdf.

In light of this decision, it is prudent to take the upper extremity rating and multiply it by the 400 week value of the shoulder in order to determine permanency entitlement for employees who sustain work-related shoulder injuries post July 1, 2017.

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