Federal Manager's Daily Report

Even after needed improvements to benefits case

processing at the Department of Energy, inconsistent


benefits are likely to result from the program structure,

the General Accounting Office has said.

It said that subtitle D, the Energy Employees

Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000

allows the Department of Energy to help its contractors’

employees file state workers’compensation claims for


DoE needs to take additional steps to expedite the

processing of claims through its physician panels,

enhance its communications with claimants, improve its

case management data and its capabilities to aggregate

these data to address program issues, and consider

developing a legislative proposal to address the

“willing payer” issues, said GAO.

During the first two and half years of the program

DoE had completed about six percent of the more than

23,000 cases that have been filed, and that it has

begun processing 35 percent more, leaving about 60

percent of cases in a backlog, according to GAO.

To address the backlog DoE has reduced the number of

physicians needed for some panels, but a shortage of

qualified physicians continues to constrain the agency