The Pieces Finally Start to Fit -- Diary of an Impairment Rater

31 May 2012 / Impairment Rating Specialists / Comments Off on The Pieces Finally Start to Fit -- Diary of an Impairment Rater

Overtime the pieces finally started to fit. The other doctors would be kind enough to take me aside and give me amazing mini lectures on the medical legal paring of the specialty. The phrases they used, the words they placed in their exams (later to be “unleashed” if necessary during a deposition), and the verbal “jujitsu” of the daily report writing. The doctors I always admired the most were the ones who had an answer for everything, every situation, every possible employer call or scenario. They were brilliant. How did they come up with this stuff? I would try to pose my best attempt at tripping them up with yet another “hypothetical situation” (actually my last patient in the room with a question I could not answer), only to have it turned inside out like a sock.


This was the beginning of my occupational medicine addiction. Sure, I would stray from the calling here and there with a stint in a primary care clinic for a year or two, but there was always the calling to return to the work comp clinic. And this is where our story begins.


From the very onset, the words “California Workers’ Comp” strikes fear into the hearts of nearly every physician. It strikes fear because we as physicians are suppose to have, for some reason, a firm grasp of not only medicine, but in general every topic or problem that our patients might encounter in the course of their care (or life). A patient even asked me once where the best place in town was to have their car brakes repaired!


Imagine being put on the spot to generate a medical legal document using words and ideas that are completely foreign to you. Not to mention that if the report is not correct or complete, your patient may be denied or delayed benefits they may be entitled to this system. And just like that steak knife ad…there’s more! You may even get deposed if your report is ambiguous or unclear in anyway. How does that sound? Kind of makes you want to jump up and down saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” or maybe not.

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