FCEs: Will They Be Profitable?

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 29, 2022 9:46:41 AM / by Erin Norton


dollar sign

Any time a clinic is considering whether to add a new service, one of the  biggest questions is, “Will this service make money?” To answer this, you need to ask yourself a question or two or 20.

There are several things to consider when figuring out if FCEs will provide a good return on your investment. Here are three of the main ones: 

  1. Perform a SWOT analysis
  2. Identify practical considerations.
  3. Gather data for Return-on-Investment (ROI) calculations


SWOT analysis

Perform a SWOT analysis.  Selecting an FCE system impacts business profitability, clinical productivity, and quality of patient care. 

 What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)?

 For instance,

  • Why do you want to begin performing FCEs?

Who are your current workers’ compensation referral sources, and is there an opportunity to expand those?

  • What percent of your current caseload is workers’ compensation, and could you increase that percentage?
  • In your area, are there self-insured companies with physically demanding jobs that might be interested in a post-offer/pre-hire screening program?
  • How many other clinics within a 20-mile radius are offering FCEs, and what do they charge?
  • Is there a state workers’ compensation fee schedule, and if so, what is the reimbursement for FCEs?

Answering these questions will help you make a logical and reasonable decision as to whether this is the right direction for your clinic.



Practical considerations Just as crucial as the SWOT analysis are the practical considerations. These questions can help you organize your plans and decide if performing FCEs is the right direction.

  • Do you have money in the budget for purchasing an FCE system, and if not, can you shift funds from another line item of your budget?
  • What equipment will you need, and how much will it cost?
  • How many staff will you want to train? (We recommend at least two if possible.)
  • In how many locations will you want to perform FCEs?
  • How much space do you have available for conducting FCEs?
  • How quickly do you want to get started?



Gather data for an ROI calculation.  If you have performed a SWOT analysis and addressed the practical considerations, you are ready for the next step. Time to start gathering data unique to your clinic that can help you calculate profits for this service or show you how long the system will take to pay for itself. Here’s what you need to gather:

  • First, what will your investment be? Be sure you include the cost of software, training, and equipment.
  • What is the average salary for clinicians performing the FCEs? You may need to consider who will be performing the service. An OT, PT, PTA?
  • How many FCEs do you think you will perform monthly? To determine this number, you can track how many FCEs referrals you have already turned away this year or talk to work comp case managers or physicians and ask them about FCE needs.
  • What is the average amount of time you will spend on each FCE? The type of referrals you expect can impact the length of the FCE. For instance, a social security disability FCE may be a short 1.5-2 hour FCE; a work comp referral maybe 3-4 hours.
  • What is the reimbursement rate for FCEs? The majority of FCEs come from workers’ compensation referrals. You can find work comp fee schedules on your state work comp agency’s website. CLICK HERE for a list of work comp agencies by state.

 ErgoScience makes it easy for you to calculate the profit potential.   Download our profitability calculator and start crunching the numbers you’ve just gathered.


ErgoScience has pulled the SWOT analysis and practical considerations into a simple document called “12 Questions”. Download it today and refer back to it as needed.   And since most clinics have criteria in addition to the profit margin that is important when choosing an FCE system, we’ve included an easy-to-use selection criteria chart which can be helpful when examining an FCE system.

 Download "12 Questions"

Let ErgoScience make the process even easier. We can help you answer all these questions and give direction for gathering data. Contact us to walk through the SWOT, practical considerations, or profitability calculator together.

 I want your help.


Erin Norton

Written by Erin Norton

Erin help clinics find the best solution to fit their needs from functional capacity evaluations, to job analysis, pre-employment screens or impairment ratings.