Fit for duty testing (FFD) is a fantastic tool for employers because it qualifies the safety of the employee to return to regular or modified duty as relates to the essential functions of the job. However, if the employee cannot meet their job demands, the solution often is to send them back to the doctor for more treatment, place them on light duty, etc. Up until recently, there was no system in place to determine if the employee is self-limited in their effort, rather than demonstrating a full maximum effort.
At Job Ready Services, we have several methods built into our FFD testing to quantify a person’s sincerity of effort as a normal part of our test. If any inconsistencies are identified, we can ask the employer for permission to expand our testing and utilize the X-RTS testing method to determine within 99.5% accuracy if someone is giving their best effort or voluntarily exaggerating a disability. That report can then be sent to the individual’s doctor, the insurance carrier, and supervisor and may help stop a costly claim before it starts.
Recently, a client came into Job Ready with exaggerated symptoms from a ‘work-related’ injury. The staff was very sympathetic with this man who was demonstrating significant pain behaviors, but a routine screen produced some startling results. After contracting the employer and explaining the situation, he agreed to a full sincerity of effort examination. In the end, the testing revealed that there was a 1 in 10,000,000 chance that the employee was actually giving a full effort, and numerous inconsistencies were documented throughout the appointment. While the expanded test does have an additional cost, that one avoided claim will more than pay for the employer’s testing during the years to come.
A question arose after this test as to the legality of presenting the employer all of the collected data because the collected data included other areas of the body outside of the injured area. Another case concerning worker’s compensation, Georgia Pacific v Indergard, had been derailed by an FCE that collected medical data that was not consistent with the area of injury. After consulting our legal experts, it was revealed that sincerity of effort IS an essential job function and can ALWAYS be required of any employee.
This expanded sincerity of effort testing is not limited to employers’ fit for duty testing. It is already utilized as part of our functional capacity evaluation and, as warranted, our work conditioning evaluations, but it can also be done as an independent test. Doctors or adjusters who order an FCE for sincerity of effort testing alone may waste money or time due to extraneous measures and lengthy medical history interviews involved in the FCE.
If there is ever a question of someone’s sincerity of effort and no need for a full FCE, please contact us at 919-256-1400 or visit our website for more information.