Several changes made in 2021 to the American Medical Association’s guide on disability classifications, which affect workers’ compensation claims, will have an “uncertain” effect on the diagnosis and disability determination of psychological injury claims, according to an analysis released Monday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
The Boca Raton, Fla.-based credit rating agency reviewed the AMA Guides 6th Edition 2021 updates — the first since 2008 — and found that “the only significant changes to content and methodology were for mental and behavioral disorders.”
States that accept workers’ comp mental injury claims often require a diagnosis of a mental condition for compensation. And experts have said that claim costs related to conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, accepted on assumption in more than a dozen states for first responders, are uncertain. Psychic claims have also become a major topic of discussion in recent years.
Overall, in the states that use the AMA guide to determine disability, NCCI said, “the direction and magnitude of the cost impact”; for worker disability and mental injury disabilities is “unclear at this time.”
The NCCI said it is also uncertain whether changes in income replacement costs following a psychological injury would be offset by other compensation changes.