Office of Workers' Compensation Programs:
Further Actions Are Needed to Improve Claims Review
GAO-02-725T: Published: May 9, 2002. Publicly Released: May 9, 2002.
The Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) paid $2.1 billion in medical and death benefits and received 174,000 new injury claims during fiscal year 2000. GAO found that (1) one in four appealed claims' decisions are reversed or remanded to OWCP district offices for additional consideration and a new decision because of questions about or problems with the initial claims decision; (2) OWCP set a goal of informing 96 percent of claimants within 110 days of the date of the hearing; (3) nearly all doctors used by OWCP to provide opinions on injuries claimed were board certified and state licensed and were specialists in areas consistent with the injuries they evaluated; and (4) OWCP has used mailed surveys, telephone surveys, and focus groups to measure customer satisfaction. The Labor inspector general is monitoring fraud within OWCP's workers compensation program and using the claims examiners as one source to identify potentially fraudulent claims. This testimony is based on a May report (GAO-02-637).