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Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) – Great Risk Management Technique


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.

Picture of Man Wrapping Woman Injured Hand Functional Capacity Evaluation While Talking Other Man

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

Graphic Map North Carolina Functional Capacity Evaluation Releigh

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.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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