One Day Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE): A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is a comprehensive evaluation used to help physicians, employers, case managers, insurance companies, and lawyers establish a patient’s functional abilities and whether it is safe for someone to return to work. An FCE contains performance-based tests that help determine a person’s ability to work, as well as their level of functioning or residual functional abilities. The entire test is performed in one day and averages about 2-4 hours to complete.
Two Day Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE): Similar to a one day FCE but instead of testing being completed in one day, it is completed over a two day period thus giving a better picture of how the client is able to perform over time.
Job/Occupation Specific FCE- (basic or comprehensive): This type of Functional Capacity Evaluation compares the individual’s physical abilities to a specific job or occupation. It also assists in determining whether or not the client can safely meet the essential physical functions of his/her job. This type of FCE will compare the individual’s strength results and associated job factor activities against a specific job’s/occupation’s strength category & job factor activities. This test will also list any other physical restrictions/limitations found during the test.
General FCE (non job specific) FCE: This type of FCE helps determine an individual’s general physical abilities and type of work that can be safely performed. The individual’s functional abilities, however, are not matched to the physical demands of a specific job/occupation. Also, this type of FCE does not compare results against the “job factor activities” of a specific job/occupation but does determine the individual’s overall strength category rating along with any other physical restrictions/limitations found during the test.
Return to work (RTW) FCE: In general, FCE Tests (1 day or 2 day) are usually performed when a work injury claim has been established. This FCE is usually indicated when an injured employee is at MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement) and has reached a point in his/her rehabilitation where they are failing to make any further significant functional progress. This is usually a job-specific FCE that is completed over 1 or 2 days. This type of FCE might also be recommended if the employee is working with restrictions (modified duty) and the employer/medical professional wants to see if the employee is now capable of handling his/her pre-injury job. Early “Return to Work” FCE’s are done in the initial stages of a worker’s rehabilitation in an effort to identify the job tasks that the worker can perform safely on a "modified basis" or if the worker can actually meet the pre-injury job requirements. The test can be repeated until full duty is reached. FCE are also indicated when you suspect the person is malingering.
Disability Determination FCE: This FCE is usually performed on people with chronic injuries or disease that are applying for SSD (Social Security Disability). The person sent for this type of FCE is generally considered to have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement), and the purpose of this test is to document residual functional abilities or to assist in the claim settlement and/or case closure process. The type of FCE performed is usually a General (non job specific) FCE that is completed over 1 or 2 days.
Employment Testing: Pre/Post/Periodic Employment testing are very similar to each other and they are usually performed on the employer level when no work injury claim has been established.
• Pre-Employment Testing: A pre-employment screen is used to gather non-medical information and compare it to a particular skill set before a job offer is made. It does not include a history or physical examination, the completion of outcome questionnaires, or any consistency of effort testing. It usually focuses on physical fitness or agility type of testing and/or the ability to complete various sample job tasks.
• Post Employment Testing: This type of FCE is ordered to determine whether or not the employee can perform the essential functions of a job. In this case, the employer has usually made a conditional job offer to a potential employee. The only difference between Post-employment and a Pre-employment test is the option of the employer to include a medical examination as a part of the post-employment testing if desired. This examination maintains compliance with the ADA (American Disabilities Act) states that questions about disability cannot be asked & medical examinations cannot be performed until after a job offer has been made.
• Periodic Employment or Job Transfer Testing: Used as a monitoring tool to evaluate any problems/issues that may arise from work. Although traditionally used as a part of the initial hiring process, testing similar to the Pre-employment screen can also be used to help determine whether or not a current employee has the functional skills to transfer to another job. More specifically, Job transfer testing is performed when an employee wants to apply for an alternative position that involves a different set of skills and physical demands.
Physical or Job Demand Analysis: A Physical or Job Demand Analysis (PDA/JDA) is a systematic procedure used to quantify and evaluate the “physical & environmental” demand components of all the essential and non-essential tasks of a particular job/occupation. The PDA/JDA assists in establishing what a job is (in its entirety), in a manner that complies with any governing laws. A PDA is considered to be the “cornerstone” of the analytical process used to determine the compatibility between a worker and a specific job.