What is a Functional Capacity Exam?
Chapter 9: What is a Functional Capacity Exam? When you are injured at work, workers’ compensation provides medical and disability benefits while you are out of work receiving treatment for your injuries. Unfortunately, some employees do not recover fully from their injuries. If an employee sustains a permanent disability that restricts the employee’s ability to work, the employee may be entitled to Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) or Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits. Some employees may also be entitled to vocational training if the disability allows the person to work, but in a different career or job. If you allege that your workplace injury resulted in permanent impairment or disability, it is up to you to prove that you cannot perform your work duties because of the impairment. When you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), your physician may refer you for a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). The FCE helps your physician assess your impairment rating by measuring your physical capabilities. Your performance on the FCE helps your physician develop a prognosis regarding your workplace injury. What is the Functional Capacity Exam? The FCE is a series of tests performed by a physician or a therapist to measure stamina, strength, and flexibility. In some cases, and FCE may also test cognitive abilities depending on the skills required to perform your job and your specific injury. An FCE can take up to eight hours to complete, depending on the tests involved and the complexity of the tests. Common tests included in an FCE are:
- Range of motion
- Positional tolerance
- Hand dexterity