NASHVILLE—Tennessee workers who suffer on-the-job injuries will be able to access a new state sponsored program July 1, 2005. The program will resolve conflicting opinions between the employer/insurance carrier and the employee regarding workers’ compensation permanent impairment ratings. The Medical Impairment Rating (MIR) Registry was created by the Tennessee legislature in the Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2004 to enhance and to improve the current independent medical examination process. Workers’ compensation attorneys and insurance companies will especially need to become familiar with the program and its rules.
The MIR Registry will be available to any party who disputes the impairment rating of a physician in a workers’ compensation claim for injuries that occur on or after July 1, 2005. The expense of the evaluation will be borne by the employer. Other potential issues such as causation, apportionment, appropriateness of treatment, work restrictions, and job modifications will not be considered or addressed by this program.
Individuals who participate in the Workers’ Compensation arena can attend training seminars to better assist their clients in the field of disability assessment. The state has arranged for AMA Guides training seminars to be conducted August 12-13 in Nashville, September 9-11 in Gatlinburg, and October 14-16 in Memphis. Additional information concerning the training seminars, including registration information, is available at the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Workers’ Compensation Division’s homepage at http://www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/wc_MIR.htm. Topics will include proper report writing, analyzing case studies, and administering the AMA Guides effectively.
Only Board-certified and departmentally approved MDs and DOs will be assigned to the MIR Registry. One of the requirements of their participation on the Registry is their attendance at a training course dedicated to the proper use of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5 th Edition.
MIR physicians will be recognized as experts in the field of impairment evaluation. Opinions issued by physicians on the Registry for cases involving the MIR program will be presumed statutorily accurate and can be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.
Anyone with questions concerning the Registry is encouraged to contact MIR Program Coordinator Jeff Francis. Rules of the program, including minimum qualifications for physicians, the fees for the evaluation, and application procedures, are available from him at 615-253-1613 or by e-mailing him at email@example.com for more information.