If your company is considering ordering an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or a Functional Capacity Examination (FCE), you should think about getting them from a company that organizes disability services nationwide. Insurance company case managers will want to make an appointment with a company that has decades of experience in these services.
In a previous post I talked about how an IME is used in an AOV claim by Case Managers and Third Party Administrators (TPAs). Sometimes these case managers and TPAs also need to schedule FCEs.
What is an FCE used for?
According to Joseph J Chen, MD “One can use an FCE to develop a treatment program, to measure patients’ physical capabilities before and after a rehabilitation program, to modify rehabilitation treatment, to evaluate whether an injured employee can work, and to determine when he/she can return to work.”
Sometimes case managers and TPAs don’t know which exam to apply for. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right exam for your claimant.
An FCE is a group of physical tests performed by a state-licensed physical therapist or occupational therapist. An FCE is given to evaluate the claimant’s physical functional ability. The tests usually take three to four hours. The therapist takes their checklist of physical capabilities that they filled out with in-depth comments and returns it to the office of the company that scheduled the FCE.
An IME is a one-time exam that is scheduled with a Board Certified medical specialist. This physician reviews medical records, thoroughly examines the claimant, and follows up with a signed descriptive report that is returned to the office of the IME scheduling company with the physician’s determination and findings.
If your company would like to learn more about the differences between an IME or FCE, please contact your Disability Services company for more information.
If your Disability Services company has an online portal website, a good first step would be to register in their system on their website. Someone from the company will contact you after seeing that you have taken the time to become a new registered user.
Most companies that deal with scheduling disability exams for case managers and TPAs have an online system that makes it easy for them to schedule. If you’re using a company that doesn’t have such a system in place, be prepared to spend a lot of time ordering exams over the phone.