Medical Impairment Rating (MIR) Registry
The Medical Impairment Rating (MIR) Registry is a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation-maintained listing of qualified and approved physicians who are specially trained to conduct impairment rating medical evaluations and who have applied to serve on the Registry. The program is designed to assist parties in settling a workers’ compensation claim when the only item being disputed is the impairment rating. The program is available only for dates of injuries on/after July 1, 2005.
What does the MIR Registry do?
The program provides the names of physicians, listed on the Registry, who are specifically trained in the techniques of performing impairment rating evaluations on the body part(s) involved in the workers’ compensation claim. The parties choose a physician from the list provided to perform an evaluation to determine an appropriate impairment rating. The rating produced is utilized to help determine any Permanent Disability Benefits due in the matter. An MIR evaluation may be requested by either party. Regardless of which party requests it, the cost of the evaluation is borne by the employer. The report provided by the MIR physician will provide only the impairment rating. It will not address causation, apportionment, job restrictions or modifications, or the appropriateness of treatment.
Why is this method better?
The physicians whose names are provided will be objective and impartial since they will not have been involved in the claim whatsoever. And, the rating issued by the MIR physician is considered, by statute, to be accurate. Ratings issued by other physicians are not considered statutorily accurate. And, it is quicker and less expensive and adds consistency and predictability to the system when compared to having the issue resolved in court.
How is the rating determined?
Injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2008 must be rated by The AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th Edition. Injuries occurring prior to January 1, 2008 must be rated by the applicable version of the AMA Guides, as determined by the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act.
How do parties request a Registry physician?
To request the MIR evaluation, one of the parties must submit the Application for a Medical Impairment Rating (MIR) form to the division. But, before the parties can request a MIR evaluation, there must be a dispute about the current impairment rating. A dispute occurs when:
- There are competing impairment ratings issued by different physicians, and the parties disagree as to which rating is correct (dueling doctors), or
- The treating physician has placed permanent restrictions on the claimant, but has issued a rating of “zero,” or states that there is “no permanent impairment.”