Functional Capacity Evaluation

Workers’ compensation, absenteeism and attrition are among the biggest employee-related expense for most employers. An employee pool that have high incidence of injury and health claims usually mean higher premiums that employers have to pay for workers’ compensation and health insurance while attrition leads to high training and turnover costs. According to the WorkSTEPS website, pre-screening employees for functional capabilities will reduce these employer costs considerably, as much as 50% in some cases.

Another way to reduce these costs is to require employees to take a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) post-injury to determine fitness to return to work as well as eligibility for workers’ compensation claims and disability payments. This ensures that the injured worker is truly able to perform his or her job functions adequately and not exacerbate the existing injury as well as determine if any claims for disability or workers’ compensation is justified. The date gathered from these assessments may be used as a basis for decision-making in claims as well as other employee-related health and work concerns.

An FCE is a double-edged sword. It can prove that an injured claimant has grounds for a claim or even more than what is being claimed. It may also show that there is no reason why a worker should not go back to work immediately. At any rate, an FCE is often required by an insurer, and it should be administered by a disinterested third party which will produce a credible and objective FCE report.

All employers should invest in a service that will provide employee prescreening as well as FCEs to improve productivity and reduce employee-related costs. It would also be advisable to have other assessments done such as upper quadrant/carpal tunnel testing and work environment evaluation to help in injury management and prevention. The return on investment may be realized immediately, significantly and in multiple ways.

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