Labor Department IG Scott Dahl has recommended strengthening controls over fraud in the FECA injury compensation program which is run by that department–although costs of benefits are charged back to the employing agencies and are a long-running concern to managers whose budgets are affected. At a recent House hearing, he recommended that Congress:
* Allow the department and his office to access a Social Security database on newly hired persons, which would “aid in detecting fraud committed by individuals who conceal outside income while receiving FECA wage loss compensation.”
* Impose a three-day waiting period government-wide at the beginning of the 45-day continuation-of-pay period, to discourage filing of frivolous claims. Currently that is the policy only for the Postal Service, while for other agencies that waiting period comes at the end of the continuation-of-pay period, “thereby negating its purpose.”
* Allow Labor to set prescription drug prices through the Federal Ceiling Price law that established a brand-name drug discount program for some other federal medical programs.
* Shorten the process now used to suspend payment to providers who have been indicted for fraud in their billing practices.
He also raised concerns about lack of effective cost controls for “compounded” drugs–mixes of prescription drugs specifically for patients. Costs to the program for such drugs rose from $2 million in FY 2011 to $263 million in FY 2016, “surpassing the costs of all other drugs billed to FECA ($199 million) combined,” he said.