FSCO formed the “Catastrophic Impairment Expert Panel” to study and make recommendations on the definition of catastrophic impairment. Their preliminary report was released on April 15, 2011.
The panel reported that combining physical and mental/behavioural conditions cannot be achieved in a valid and reliable way with the currently available methods of impairment cross-ratings.
There was insufficient evidence that combined impairment ratings are more clinically meaningful than using separate criteria.
They had difficulty understanding how combining physical impairments and psychological conditions that independently do not meet the criteria in 2(e) or (f) could be equated to a severe injury to the brain, spinal cord or to blindness.
Further investigation was required to draft a clinically comparable combined psycho-physical WPI threshold that corresponds to the currently acceptable physical threshold.
Until further scientific evidence is gained, the recommendation is that separate criteria and methods of evaluation be used for the determination of catastrophic impairment and that physical and psychiatric impairment not be combined for the purpose of catastrophic determination.