Functional Capacity Evaluation – A Workers Comp Mystery
The Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is one of the great Workers Comp mysteries. All claims people talk about it. Most doctors want it. Some say it is too expensive to use on files. I have also heard the same comments concerning rehabilitation nurses.
However, the FCE can be a great Risk Management tool to ensure a great return to work and to avoid the employee reinjuring themselves the first day back on the job. Reading an FCE is painful at best. The conclusion section is fertile ground for such things as maximum effort, restrictions, etc.
What actually is a Functional Capacity Evaluation? The definition of an FCE is according to Wikipedia:
A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is a set of tests, practices and observations that are combined to determine the ability of the evaluated to function in a variety of circumstances, most often employment, in an objective manner. Physicians change diagnoses based on FCEs.
That definition was a little too vague, let us try another one that is more aligned with Workers Compensation. Job Ready Services out of Raleigh North Carolina –
A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is ordered when a doctor is looking for a snapshot of what a person can do functionally at that point and time. How much can the injured worker lift? Can he or she climb a ladder? Can the individual pull, push, squat, walk, stand or sit for certain periods of time?
The employer asks the doctor to assign work restrictions when a worker is injured, and the doctor can either do a general statement such as “most people with this injury can do …” or the doctor can order an FCE to determine what the worker can or can’t perform. Then, the restrictions given to the employer will be based on objective data for that individual and not a generalization.
©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice