Seattle Firm Chosen to Evaluate Hanford Injured-Worker Claims

January 4, 2006

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has selected Seattle audit and consulting firm Miller & Miller to review the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) administration of workers’ compensation claims at the Hanford Site.

In June, a number of Hanford workers and worker advocacy groups asked DOE to look into complaints that claims had been mishandled. DOE, in turn, asked for the state of Washington’s involvement, and agreed that L&I should take the lead on the review. L&I selected Miller & Miller through a competitive bid process.

Miller & Miller has more than 25 years of experience in fiscal and policy analysis, organizational reviews and assessing benefit-payment systems for public and private entities. This experience includes, through subcontractor Pamela Tellevik, self-insured Washington companies that manage their own workers’ compensation claims. The three-month review will begin in January.

The review will include interviews with Hanford workers, audit of claim files, an assessment of whether DOE is complying with statutes and regulations governing Washington self-insurers, and an analysis of the organizational structure DOE uses to manage claims at Hanford. A final report, due March 31, will include:

*An explanation of the overlapping and complementary jurisdictions handling workers’ compensation claims at Hanford, including DOE and its third-party administrator, CCSI, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s administration of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness and Compensation Program.
*An assessment of whether DOE is complying with the standards for injured-worker protection.
*An analysis of areas for improvement and recommendations that would result in better communications, more timely claims decisions and greater satisfaction by injured workers.

A public presentation of findings and recommendations will be held in the Tri-Cities in early April.

Topics Claims Workers' Compensation Washington

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