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Highlights

Subtitle B of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, administered by the Department of Labor (Labor), provides eligible workers who developed illnesses from their work, or their survivors, with a onetime total payment of $150,000, and coverage for medical expenses related to the illnesses. For some claims, Labor uses radiation exposure estimates (dose reconstructions) performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to determine if the illness claimed was "as least as likely as not" related to employment at a covered facility. GAO was asked to determine (1) how well Labor's procedures and practices ensure the timely and consistent processing of claims that are not referred to NIOSH for dose reconstruction but are being processed by Labor and (2) how well Labor's and NIOSH's procedures and practices ensure the timely and consistent processing of claims that are referred for dose reconstruction. GAO did not assess the quality of Labor's claims decisions.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services To enhance program management and promote greater transparency with regard to the timeliness of completing dose reconstructions, the Secretary of HHS should direct Center for Disease Control and Prevention officials to establish time frames for completing the remaining site profiles.
Closed - Implemented
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that it needed to complete site profiles for 48 Department of Energy (DOE) and Atomic Weapons Employer (AWE) facilities. On November 12, 2004, NIOSH stated that 16 of these 48 site profiles were completed and time frames had been established to complete the remaining 32 site profiles by December, 2005.

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