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Licensed medical doctors, neuropsychologists should lead catastrophic impairment assessment: panel recommendation


June 28, 2011   by Canadian Underwriter


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Ontario’s Catastrophic Impairment Panel is calling for medical doctors or doctorate-level neuropsychologists (in the case of brain injuries) to be the lead evaluators in the assessment of people with catastrophic impairments arising from auto injuries.
FSCO established the panel of medical experts last year to produce recommendations on the definition of a ‘catastrophic impairment’ under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).
FSCO also asked the panel of medical experts to provide recommendations on the training, qualifications and experience of assessors who conduct catastrophic impairment assessments for auto accident benefits. The panel’s full report on the training, qualifications and experience of cat assessors can be found at:
http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/english/insurance/auto/reform/documents/CAT_Report_PhaseII.pdf
The expert panel recommends that a lead evaluator be responsible for overseeing the catastrophic impairment assessment process.
Doctors or neuropsychologists acting as lead evaluators should have at least five years of licensing or registration in Canada, the panel recommends. Doctors must be licensed to practice by one or more Canadian Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons.
The panel also recommends that “all clinicians involved in the assessment of catastrophic impairment be trained, depending on their scope of practice, in the use of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) classification for spinal cord injury, Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS-E) for traumatic brain injury in adults, the Spinal Cord Independence Measure for ambulation disorders, the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) for psychiatric disorders and/or the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition for the assessment or physical impairments.”
The panel has called on Ontario’s auto insurance regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), to develop transition guidelines while training is being done.


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