Over the past year, reform of the federal workers' compensation program seems to have emerged as something of a hot-button issue on Capitol Hill. For example, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) sponsored legislation in February that would transition federal employees who suffered work injuries from the work comp system to the applicable retirement system upon reaching retirement age.
Now, another federal legislator is proposing purportedly cost-saving legislation designed to reform the federal work comp system - something that hasn't been done in nearly 40 years.
Last week, Representative John Kline (R-Minnesota) introduced a bill that would simplify the claims process, create greater accountability for federal agencies and revise available benefits for work injuries.
"Leaving government programs on autopilot for decades is simply unacceptable," said Rep. Kline in a released statement. "Congress has a responsibility to ensure the agencies and programs under our jurisdiction serve the best interests of taxpayers and the individuals they were created to serve."
As part of the effort to increase accountability on the part of government agencies, Rep. Kline's bill would permit the U.S. Department of Labor - the agency in charge of paying out federal workers' comp - to validate employee salaries against data held by the Social Security Administration, and to gather administrative fees from these agencies.
Interestingly, the bill would also allow both physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to certify the disability of federal employees due to traumatic injuries and authorizes payment for these services.
Federal employees are entitled to work comp benefits and medical rehabilitation costs and surviving dependents are entitled to benefits due to work-related fatalities under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) of 1916. Currently, roughly 2.7 million federal workers and postal employees are covered under this legislation.
Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Lawmakers push to reform federal workers' comp program (Government Executive)