Atlanta Workers' Comp Attorney
Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE): Use and abuse
A well-designed functional capacity evaluation, or FCE, is a performance-based assessment using objective measures to determine an individual's functional abilities. An FCE influences life-changing issues such as disability determination, return to work, employability, residual functional capacity, and continuation of treatment. The implications of these decisions are enormous.
Often, workers' compensation insurance adjusters misuse an FCE by sending injured workers to their "pet" FCE practitioners. In other words, some workers' compensation insurance carriers will send injured workers to therapists known to render evaluations which are helpful only to the employer / insurer. When we see this happen in a workers' compensation case, we attempt to get the insurer to agree to another practitioner. If the insurer will not agree to a truly independent therapist, then often we have no choice but to hire our own independent specialist to counter what we know will be a biased FCE.
A well-designed FCE is comprehensive, standardized yet flexible, safe, objective, practical, reliable, and valid. Reliability and validity are critical to trusting FCE results, yet all too often, reliability and validity, not to mention medical ethics, are foreign words to therapists hired by insurance companies. A clear and unbiased FCE report should display overall level of work, ability to tolerate an 8-hour day, the number of tasks with self-limiting behavior, inconsistencies in performance, and interpretations/conclusions. Frequently, one way FCEs are misused is when a therapist invalidly concludes that much of a patient's limits are self-imposed rather than imposed by injury.
Atlanta Lawyer for FCE Cases
We always advise our clients to give their best effort during the FCE as it is only then that the FCE will serve its legitimate purpose. If you have been injured on the job and your employer or their insurer requests that you submit to an FCE, contact an Atlanta workers' compensation attorney at McAleer Law who can advise of what to expect.
It is not too late to contact an Atlanta workers' comp lawyer to get the legal help you need regarding your FCE case.