EEOICPA BULLETIN NO.08-04                      

 

Issue Date: October 29, 2007 ___________________________________________________________

 

Effective Date: September 11, 2007

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Expiration Date: October 29, 2008

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Subject:  NIOSH’s OCAS-PER-017, entitled “Evaluation of Incomplete Internal Dosimetry Records from Idaho, Argonne – East and Argonne – West National Laboratories.”

 

Background: In April/May 2006, NIOSH found that the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Argonne National Laboratory – East (ANL-East), and Argonne National Laboratory – West (ANL-West) “did not consistently include internal dose data in all of their individual dosimetry responses” and that the internal dosimetry data was not previously submitted to NIOSH.  On September 11, 2007, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released OCAS-PER-017, entitled “Evaluation of Incomplete Internal Dosimetry Records from Idaho, Argonne – East and Argonne – West National Laboratories.”  The PER indicates that NIOSH has since received and evaluated additional internal dosimetry data for previously completed non-compensable cases that NIOSH determined to be potentially affected by the findings.  As a result of its evaluation, NIOSH has identified certain cases where the newly acquired internal dosimetry data merits inclusion in the dose reconstructions.  As such, identified cases not currently with NIOSH must be returned to NIOSH for a new radiation dose reconstruction.  A copy of OCAS-PER-017 is included as Attachment 1.

 

This bulletin provides guidance on returning specific cases to NIOSH for a new radiation dose reconstruction.

 

References: NIOSH document, OCAS-PER-017, “Evaluation of Incomplete Internal Dosimetry Records from Idaho, Argonne – East and Argonne – West National Laboratories,” effective September 11, 2007, viewed at http://198.246.98.21/niosh/ocas/pdfs/pers/oc-per-017-r0.pdf.

 

Purpose: To provide procedures for processing claims affected by NIOSH’s OCAS-PER-017.

 

Applicability: All staff.

 

Actions:

 

1. NIOSH’s OCAS-PER-017 indicates that the additional internal dosimetry data received for 83 previously completed non-compensable cases at the INL, ANL-East, and ANL-West facilities, merit a new dose reconstruction.  Some of these cases are currently at NIOSH where the additional internal dosimetry data will be considered in a new dose reconstruction.  The remainder of the identified cases, a total of 68, should be returned to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction.  A list of identified cases will be distributed to the appropriate district offices under separate cover.

 

2. For those cases identified on the list of cases that are currently in posture for a recommended decision, the Claims Examiner (CE) is to return those cases to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction.

 

3.  When referring these cases to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction, a request to the National Office Health Physicist is not required.  Instead, the CE should complete an amended NIOSH Referral Summary Document (ANRSD) and forward the ANRSD to the Public Health Advisor (PHA) assigned to the district office at NIOSH.  The ANRSD should include the following statement in the “DOL Information” section, “Rework request due to the release of OCAS-PER-017 and any other applicable modifications.”  The CE should also:

 

a.Send a letter to the claimant explaining that the case has been returned to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction as a result of the receipt of internal dosimetry data for inclusion in the dose reconstruction as outlined in OCAS-PER-019.  A sample letter to the claimant is included as Attachment 2.

b.  Send a copy of this letter to the PHA at NIOSH assigned to the DO along with the weekly DO submissions to NIOSH.  The dates on the ANRSD and the letter to the claimant must both be the same, since this will be the date used for the status code entry into ECMS.  The CE should code the case as “NI” (Sent to NIOSH) and select the “PEP” (Rework based on Program Evaluation Plan) reason code.

 

(Note: Since this is considered a new dose reconstruction, the CE should not change the existing NR/DR status code to NR/RW as typically done for rework cases. Furthermore, if a POC value is already entered into ECMS, the CE should not delete the POC.  The new POC will simply be updated once it is calculated.)

 

Upon receipt of the revised dose reconstruction report, the CE proceeds in the usual manner and prepares a recommended decision.  The CE should code the case as “NR” (Received from NIOSH) and select the “DR” (Dose Reconstruction Received-POC) reason code.  The status effective date will be the date the dose reconstruction is date stamped into the district office.  The POC should be updated in ECMS based on the new dose reconstruction.

 

4. For those cases identified on the list of cases that are currently pending a final decision at the Final Adjudication Branch (FAB), the Hearing Representative/CE should remand the case to the district office in the usual manner.  The Remand Order should direct the district office to refer the case to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction as established in OCAS-PER-017. 

 

The Hearing Representative/CE should code the case as “F7” (FAB Remand) with a “F7J” (Dose Reconstruction needs to be Reworked) reason code.  The status effective date will be the date of the FAB remand.

 

5. The following statement should be included in the Remand Order regarding the return of the case to NIOSH for a rework of the radiation dose reconstruction:

 

On September 11, 2007, NIOSH issued OCAS-PER-017 entitled, “Evaluation of Incomplete Dosimetry Records from Idaho, Argonne – East and Argonne – West National Laboratories.”  The PER indicates that additional internal dosimetry data has been received for certain cases.  The newly acquired internal dosimetry data may affect the dose reconstruction, and as such, may potentially affect the outcome of the claim.

 

The DEEOIC is obligated to ensure that the application of the dose reconstruction methodology is administered in a fair and consistent manner.  Based on NIOSH’s receipt and evaluation of the additional dosimetry data associated with your claim, the prior dose reconstruction/POC calculation on your claim is now invalid.  While the addition of the internal dosimetry data may not impact the outcome of your claim, it is necessary for the claim to undergo a new dose reconstruction by NIOSH.

 

6. In the exercise of the Director’s discretion over the reopening process, the Director is delegating limited authority to the District Director to sign Director’s Orders for reopening.  This delegated authority is limited to reopenings for those cases that are affected by the PER established for certain claims for the INL, ANL-East, and ANL-West.  The Director is retaining sole signature authority for all other types of reopenings not otherwise delegated.

 

7.  For those identified cases requiring a new dose reconstruction that have a previously issued final decision to deny as a result of a less than 50% POC, the responsible District Director should issue a Director’s Order vacating the final decision and reopening the claim.  The Director’s Order should state that the case is being reopened as a result of NIOSH’s assessment of internal dosimetry data that was not previously considered and that a new dose reconstruction is necessary based on guidance provided in OCAS-PER-017.  A sample Director’s Order is included as Attachment 3.  The District Director should code the case as “MN” (NO Initiates Review for Reopening) with a status effective date as the effective date of this bulletin. 

 

Upon reopening the claim, the District Director should code the case as “MD” (Claim Reopened – File Returned to DO) to reflect that the case has been reopened and is in the district office’s jurisdiction.  (The “MZ” status code is not necessary.)  The status effective date of the “MD” code is the date of the Director’s Order. 

 

Please note that while the “MD” code is generally input by National Office staff, entry of this code has been delegated to the District Director, just as the authority to grant reopenings has been in this specific circumstance.

 

8. If a claimant requests a reopening of his/her claim as a result of the OCAS-PER-017, and the case is not identified on the list of cases to be returned to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction, the District Director should prepare a memorandum to the Director of DEEOIC and forward the case file to the National Office for review.

 

9. The proposed district office operational plan goal for the list of identified cases is to refer the cases back to NIOSH (including reopening, if required) within 45 days of the date of this Bulletin for at least 50% of the cases, and within 90 days for 95% of the cases.  All cases requiring action due to this Bulletin should be completed within 120 days.

 

10. To track progress on completion of the tasks outlined in this Bulletin, the list of cases provided by DEEOIC has four columns added thereto with the headings, “Reviewed Per Bulletin,” “Action Taken,” “Date of Action,” and “Comments.”  The district offices are to complete these columns as work progresses on implementation of this Bulletin.  The updated spreadsheet is to be forwarded to Mr. Frank James, Special Assistant, DEEOIC, every two weeks commencing two weeks after the issue date of this Bulletin.  

 

Disposition:  Retain until incorporated in the Federal (EEOICPA) Procedure Manual.

 

 

 

 

PETER M. TURCIC

Director, Division of Energy Employees

Occupational Illness Compensation

 

 

Attachment 1

Attachment 2

Attachment 3

 

 

Distribution List No. 1: All DEEOIC Employees

Distribution List No. 7: Resource Centers