The American Psychiatric Association is in the process of revamping its diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. While the new manual (DSM-5) will not be published until 2013, a draft was released on February 10, 2010 and will be displayed for public comment until April 20, 2010 on www.DSM5.org.
A brief review of the site reveals a vast array of conditions, including mood, sexual, personality and your garden-variety personality and psychiatric conditions.
What apparently has labor lawyers in a tizzy is the possibility that these disorders may provide new found freedom for employees and their attorneys, and place unprecedented restrictions on employers-because employees may demand special accommodations because of their disorders-also known as disabilities-which would render them subject to the ADA.
Some of the examples cited by the concerned attorneys are binge eating and excess gambling. However, in reviewing the site it appears that there are many other conditions contemplated as psychiatric disorders that might give labor lawyers pause.
The real fear is that inclusion in the DSM-5 will give attorneys the opportunity to test newly formulated disorders, increasing potential liability for employers in defending these claims with the added risk of a ruling that would open the floodgates for numerous claims.
While the ADA is truly important and protects many people whose rights might otherwise be trampled, the fear is that the proposed disorders will lead to significant abuse of the ADA.
From a medical billing perspective, these disorders coupled with recent legislation that broadens insurance coverage for mental health disorders, causes one to wonder the future conditions that medical billing operators will be keying into their computers.