Physical Capacities Evaluation Project

Project will improve evaluations

Beginning in August 2014, L&I is conducting a project to improve Performance-Based Physical Capacity Evaluations. For many injured workers, this evaluation is a critical part of helping them return to work. The evaluation is administered primarily by licensed physical or occupational therapists. The attending provider (and sometimes the L&I claim manager and vocational provider) use the evaluation report as a basis for decisions about return to work.

Why L&I is doing this project

Each year the Department of Labor & Industries purchases 4,000 of these evaluations at a cost of over $2.5 million. Unfortunately, about one-third of the evaluations do not provide the information needed to allow the claim to move forward. 

Project goals and collaborative structure

It’s important that everyone involved in Physical Capacity Evaluations understand their role and feel confident of the accuracy and fairness of this evaluation. To create that understanding and confidence, L&I staff are working with a new, external Therapy Stakeholder Group (and using Lean techniques) to develop new referral guidelines and testing standards. Then L&I will use the new tools to clarify expectations with providers and workers and to improve collaboration and follow-through with all parties.

This Lean project will help meet an L&I goal of helping workers heal and return to work.

Questions?

Contact the project manager, Sarah Martin at Sarah.Martin@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-4480.

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