If Lung Function Improves, Impairment Rating Reduced
For Nova Scotia (Canada) individuals receiving benefits as a result of a Permanent Medical Impairment (PMI) related to lung function, Nova Scotia’s Workers Compensation Bureau (WCB) is reminding them of a change in practice with regard to the way their benefits are re-assessed.
According to the WCB, individuals should know that the bureau would explain any change to them before a reassessment that could impact their benefits.
Permanent medical impairments where there is reduced lung function are reassessed at different intervals, depending on the details of each claim. For many years, when reassessment showed an improvement in one’s lung function, their PMI rating, and therefore their benefits, were maintained. As a result of an appeal decision earlier this year, this practice will change.
The change is as follows (according to information from WCB):
Going forward, if your reassessment shows that your lung function has improved, your impairment rating would be reduced. The level of monthly benefits would also be reduced, accordingly, instead of maintained.
If Lung Function Worsens, Benefits Would Increase
As always, if testing showed that your lung function had worsened, your benefits would increase. As always, if there is no change in your lung function, there would be no change in your benefits.
We will implement this change in practice effective immediately, for new reassessments. Workers would be advised of the change in practice at the time a new reassessment is booked.
Note that for some workers, specifically on those claims where entitlement comes from Section 35 of the Workers Compensation Act, the previous practice will be maintained, pending recently introduced legislative changes.
Appointments for lung function reassessment will continue to be booked as per current practice. You would be advised at the time a reassessment is booked that their PMI rating could go up, down, or stay the same.
Workers Advised in Advance of Any Reassessment
All workers will be advised in advance of any reassessment that could impact their benefits.
The change in practice primarily impacts reassessments for lung-related impairments. However, as details of every claim are different, and you may well have questions about how, or if, this change affects you.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: [email protected].
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