The Work Loss Data Institute (WLDI) is a competitor to ACOEM, whose member Dr. Christopher Brigham, contributes to the so called "AMA Guides to Permanent Impairment". WDLI produces the Official Disability Guidelines (ODG), which are widely used in over 23 states, for treatment and impairment. In fact, the trend today among states is to move away from the so called "AMA Guidelines" in favor of the ODG Guides, as California recently did.
Unfortunately, based upon the attached letter from WLDI to Workers' Compensation Board Chairman Zachary Weiss (and cc'd to all member of the Workers' Compensation Board), it appears that the Wage Loss Data Institute has been cut out of the process - and that the ODG evidenced-based guides are being ignored in New York in favor of the biased guides of Dr. Christopher Brigham. See a copy of Dr. Brigham's $163,000.00 contract with the NY State Insurance Department here. It is a direct attack on New York Schedule loss of use awards.
Why are the State Insurance Department and the Workers' Compensation Board not considering the ODG Guidelines? After all, the ODG Guides do not discriminate against orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc., as detailed in the above letter to Chairman Weiss.
In addition, why is the State Insurance Department and the Workers' Compensation Board not asking for input on these new guidelines from the experts employed directly by New York State, namely the Occupational Medicine doctors in the state funded Occupational Health clinics? Why is New York State "out-sourcing" jobs to Dr. Brigham, who lives in Hawaii? As reported recently in WorkersCompCentral, the WCA will continue to fight the AMA Guides as unfair to injured workers.
It would seem that whatever medical guidelines are finally developed will require input and consideration from a wider range of medical professionals than the singularly biased, shameless Hawaiian IME, Dr. Christopher Brigham. See his Hawaiian powerpoint presentation!
Thankfully, the original deadline set by Gov. Spitzer for the Medical Task Force Guidelines has long since past, so it appears that the State need not hurry to adopt any particular set of guidelines until all options are explored. That's good news. As they say, haste makes waste...
P.S: At the request of Dr. Brigham, we apologize to all the residents of Hawaii for implying that he is of Hawaian origin. He simply resides in Hawaii. - WCA - 4/20/08