When the AMA published the Sixth Edition of its Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, it contained new language that restricted chiropractic evaluations to the spine only. The restriction drew sharp criticism from the American Chiropractic Association. In a letter to the AMA, the ACA questioned the legality of restrictive language related to evaluations by doctors of chiropractic and accused the AMA of violating the permanent Wilk injuction.
The AMA responded by issuing a correction. The Guide will state in relevant part that: “Impairment evaluation requires medical knowledge. Physicians duly recognized by an appropriate jurisdiction should perform such assessments within their applicable scope of practice and field of expertise.” AMA will be mailing out the correction and future publication of the Guide will contain the corrective language. For all plaintiff’s attorneys, any attempt by a defense lawyer during cross examination of a treating chiropractor who has testified as to a whole person impairment should do one of two things: 1) object to the cross examination on the grounds that the langauge being cited by the defense attorney from the Guide has been retracted and corrected; or 2) allow the questioning and then on re-direct present the fact that such language was subsequently corrected by the AMA. It is my opinion that the former is the better strategy.