If your company is thinking about ordering an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or a Functional Capacity Exam (FCE) you should think about getting them from a company that schedules disability services nationwide. Insurance company Case Managers will want to schedule with a company who has decades of experience in these services.

In an earlier post I talked about how an IME is used in a Disability Insurance 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, M.D. “One can use an FCE to develop a treatment program, to measure the physical abilities of patients before and after a rehabilitation program, to modify a rehabilitation treatment, to evaluate whether an injured worker can work, and to determine when he/she can return to work.”

Sometimes Case Managers and TPAs aren’t sure which exam they need to request. Here are a couple of tips to help you choose the right exam for your claimant.

An FCE is a group of physical tests conducted 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 check list of physical capabilities that they’ve filled out with in-depth comments, and returns it to the office of the company who scheduled the FCE.

An IME is a one-time exam that is scheduled with a Board Certified medical specialist. This Physician reviews medical records, gives the claimant a thorough examination and follows it up with a signed narrative report that gets returned to the IME scheduling company’s office with the doctor’s determination and findings.

If your company is interested in knowing more about the differences between an IME or FCE you should reach out to your Disability Services company for more information.

If your Disability Services company has a website with an Online Portal a good first step would be to register in their system on their website. Someone from the company will contact you after they see that you took the time to become a newly registered user.

Most companies who are in the business of scheduling Disability Exams for Case Managers and TPAs will have a Online system that allows for easy scheduling. If you are using a company who doesn’t a system like this, be prepared to spend a lot of time ordering exams over the phone.

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