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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

News Brief

OWCP and NIOSH create quality assurance program
for black lung chest X-ray evaluations

Participants: U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Agreement description: On Sept. 24, OWCP and NIOSH entered into a formal memorandum of understanding establishing a quality assurance program for X-rays used to evaluate whether claimants are entitled to black lung benefits based on the presence of complicated pneumoconiosis.

Background: This initiative is one of many department efforts to address issues raised by a recent Inspector General review of the black lung claim adjudication process.

Quotes: "In the past two years, the department has implemented several initiatives to improve the quality and timeliness of decisions on black lung claims," said OWCP Director Leonard J. Howie III. "This interagency agreement will provide a process to monitor and assess the quality of X-ray readings submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the adjudication process."

"NIOSH has had a longstanding commitment to ensuring professionalism, proficiency, and objectivity among the physicians it certifies as B readers," said David Weissman, director of NIOSH's Division of Respiratory Disease Studies. "By formalizing this agreement with OWCP, together we will establish a new mechanism to help ensure that chest X-ray readings used in black lung benefits proceedings meet the highest standards."

OWCP News Brief: [09/29/2015]
Contact Name: Laura McGinnis or Carrie Thomas
Phone Number: (202) 693-4653 or x4667
Email: or
Release Number: 15-1887-NAT