The Best FECA Practices Could Raise Productivity if Implemented at All FECA Offices

AFMD-83-72: Published: Sep 27, 1983. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1983.

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GAO conducted a review to identify opportunities for improving productivity in processing federal employees' disability and medical claims under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) program.

GAO found that productivity in 15 district offices varied widely because the offices used a variety of operating practices and staffing methods. GAO believes that the lower performing offices could improve productivity by adopting the practices of the more efficient offices. GAO found that FECA managers do not have a system for measuring and comparing district offices' productivity. However, the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs is working on a computer system which could improve productivity, although it will directly improve only the work of claims examiners, who comprise about 25 percent of the staff. GAO found that the major reasons for productivity differences were in the areas of idle time, extra support staff, and equipment availability and use. Because some of the best practices which promote higher productivity will cost money to initiate, the cost benefits of improvements should be assessed on an office-by-office basis.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Verification consisted of a letter to GAO which contained a description of actions. Further follow-up for accomplishment report purposes would require staff time being applied to assignments judged to have a higher cost improvement payoff.

    Recommendation: The Deputy Under Secretary of Labor should ask the Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs to: (1) act to improve productivity by identifying the best operating practices, implementing them at all offices, and looking for ways to improve even the current best practices; (2) use the actions which GAO identified as a starting point for improvement efforts; and (3) develop productivity and quality measures and goals, use them in conjunction with timeliness measures for tracking performance at district offices, and identify action managers should take.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor


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