Former Worker Medical Screening Program (FWP)
Communicating Results: Provide exam results to participants, as well as information regarding any conditions that may require follow-up medical care with their personal physicians or specialists, and provide information regarding possible compensation for work-related illnesses. Follow-up care is not covered by the program.
Occupational medicine physicians review the results from the screening exams, along with the completed medical and occupational exposure history questionnaires, to determine whether there are any abnormal findings that may require immediate attention or whether the findings may have been caused by a work-related exposure. Participants requiring urgent medical attention for an abnormal test result are contacted immediately by phone, informed of the finding, and provided recommendations for further evaluation and treatment by their primary care physicians or a specialist. The findings are also documented in a letter to the participant, otherwise known as an "urgent letter," that is sent by overnight mail.
Workers are provided a summary of all the findings from their screening examination in a results letter several weeks after their examination, along with any necessary follow-up recommendations. Although the primary focus of the results letter is to provide a summary of any possible occupational-related findings and follow-up recommendations for those findings, the letter also includes a summary of all the findings, including non-occupational findings, discovered during the screening (such as elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure). The results letter also includes general health advice for workers, such as recommendations for smoking cessation. Individuals who are found to have any abnormal medical findings are referred to their personal physicians or a specialist for follow-up care.
While the FWP projects offer medical screening tests, follow-up medical care is not covered by the program. If the FWP screening result indicates a need for medical treatment, efforts are made to ensure that participants get the necessary care. This involves communicating with the participants, their families, and their personal physicians. If participants do not have personal physicians or if they do not have the means to pay for additional medical care, the projects try to arrange for care in a variety of ways.
When appropriate, the physicians who write the results letters include language concerning the possible work-relatedness of a condition, especially if the condition is known to be a potential occupational disease. The inclusion of this language, known as "causation" language, can be very helpful for participants who decide to file a claim under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA)1, which is administered by Department of Labor. Moreover, participants are informed of their possible eligibility for EEOICPA benefits in the results letters.
The FWP complements the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP), as it offers former DOE workers medical examinations that are conducted by expert occupational medicine physicians, providing workers with expert, detailed information about the possible relationship between their condition and their occupational exposure at a DOE site. In addition, FWP project staff, many of whom are former DOE workers, are able to assist participants by providing useful site and exposure information to include in their claims packages. While participation in the medical screening program is not required for filing a compensation claim, the medical results are often useful in supporting an EEOICPA claim. The FWP will also refer individuals to other state and Federal workers' compensation programs when appropriate.
1EEOICPA provides compensation to eligible employees and former employees of DOE, its contractors, and subcontractors, or certain survivors of such individuals for occupational illness or death arising from work in covered DOE facilities, atomic weapons employers' facilities, and beryllium vendors.