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Impairment and Disability Evaluations: Understanding the Process
J. Mark Melhorn, MD
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J. Mark Melhorn, MD
The Hand Center, 625 North Carriage Parkway, Suite 125, Wichita, KS 67208-4510. E-mail address: melhorn@kscable.com

The author did not receive grants or outside funding in support of his research or preparation of this manuscript. He did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the author is affiliated or associated.

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2001 Dec 01;83(12):1905-1911
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Depending on one’s definition of disability, between thirty-five and forty-six million Americans can be labeled as disabled. Unlike other human conditions such as poverty, gender, childhood, old age, and race, the definition of disability and the determination of who is disabled continue to challenge governments and adjudicating bodies. Thus, the definitions of disability expand and contract more along political and ideological lines than according to any clear physical determinations. Since there is no standardized or generally accepted definition, calculating the cost of disability is difficult. If the costs of time lost from work, medical care, legal services, and earning replacements are summed, the estimated cost of disability in the United States in 1980 was $177 billion, or approximately 6.5% of the gross domestic product1.
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