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Often when a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is ordered for an injured worker, an impairment rating (IR) is also requested. Impairment ratings are a relatively easy way to expand clinical services and increase your value to referral sources, yet they are often overlooked. Many clinicians do not fully understand the difference between FCEs and IR. Unknowns can be intimidating, but I will shed some light on this lesser-known service so you can confidently add impairment ratings to your suite of clinic services.
So, you have a patient with a work-related injury. He has finished the prescribed course of outpatient physical therapy, but his Return-To-Work Screen revealed that he doesn’t have the physical ability to do his job. No problem, just put together some exercises he can do for a few hours each day and call it work conditioning. Easy, right?
In the PT world, there are many areas of specialization. While lots of therapists tend to gravitate toward Sports Medicine or Pediatrics, fewer therapists choose to specialize in Occupational Health PT (actually a sub-specialty of Orthopedics). But those who do specialize in treating industrial athletes can find that it’s especially rewarding.