EEOICPA CIRCULAR NO.    15-02         Date:  October 25, 2014

 

SUBJECT:  Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) designation for the General Atomics Facility at La Jolla, CA from January 1, 1960 through December 31, 1969.

 

The purpose of this Circular is to notify all Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) staff of the SEC class designation for the General Atomics facility located in La Jolla, California.

 

Pursuant to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA) and 42 C.F.R. Part 83, a petition was filed on behalf of workers at the General Atomics facility in La Jolla, California, to be added to the SEC.

 

The decision to initiate this petition occurred after the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that it could not reconstruct a dose under 42 C.F.R. § 83.13.  NIOSH submitted its findings to the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (“the Board”) on July 29, 2014.  On September 3, 2014, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) received the Board’s recommendation to add to the SEC a class of employees who worked at the General Atomics facility in La Jolla, California.

 

On September 25, 2014, the Secretary of HHS designated the following class for addition to the SEC in a report to Congress:

 

All Atomic Weapons Employees who worked for General Atomics at its facility in La Jolla, California, during the period from January 1, 1960, through December 31, 1969, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, occurring either solely under this employment, or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees included in the Special Exposure Cohort.

 

A copy of the Secretary’s letter to Congress recommending the designation is included as Attachment 1.  Although Congress had the authority to reject the recommendation within a 30-day period, Congress took no action.  Therefore, the SEC designation for this class became effective as of October 25, 2014, which was 30 days after the Secretary of HHS designated the class for addition to the SEC in the report to Congress.

 

This is the second SEC class for workers at the General Atomics facility in La Jolla, California. The initial class was the subject of EEOICPA Bulletin No. 07-17, which outlined that Atomic Weapons Employees who worked at the General Atomics facility in La Jolla, CA, in certain buildings during the period from January 1, 1960 through December 31, 1969 qualify under the SEC. This circular supersedes that Bulletin by removing the building requirements.

 

If the employee does not have 250 workdays at the General Atomics facility in La Jolla, California during the period of the class, the case file is reviewed to determine if additional days in the SEC can be found by combining days from employment meeting the criteria for other SEC classes to meet the 250-workday requirement. 

 

While a new SEC class has been added for the General Atomics facility in La Jolla, CA, NIOSH intends to use internal and external monitoring data that is available for an individual claim (and that can be interpreted using existing NIOSH dose reconstruction processes or procedures).  This means that for claims that do not satisfy the SEC membership criteria, a partial dose reconstruction is to be performed by NIOSH.

 

A copy of the NIOSH letter to affected employees at the facility is included as Attachment 2.

 

This Circular should be used in conjunction with the EEOICPA Bulletin No. 11-07, Special Exposure Cohort Claim Processing.  A screening worksheet is included as Attachment 3.

 

As outlined in EEOICPA Bulletin No. 11-07, the district offices are to use the comprehensive list provided as the basis for an initial screening of cases associated with all SEC classes.  For screening only, the results reflected on the initial screening worksheet is recorded in ECS using the Screening (SEC/PER/Other) Navigation Panel.  From the Screening (SEC/PER/Other) Navigation Panel on the case, select the ‘Create’ button.  Based on the result of the review and in accordance with the ‘SEC Class Screening Worksheet’, select the appropriate result of “Likely” if the case is likely an SEC, “Unlikely” if it is unlikely that the case will be an SEC or “Development Needed” if development is needed.  The date of the signed worksheet is recorded in the “Date” field.  The reason associated with the SEC is selected in the “Reason” field.  For this SEC, the reason is “Rvwd per Circular 15-02, General Atomics, La Jolla (1/1/60 – 12/31/69).”  If the District Office and FAB staff determine that the case is going to be awarded based on a SEC, a positive SEC causation path must be entered into ECS, selecting the SER and SEF blocks, and entering their Dates and the appropriate SER Reason and SEF Reason “Rvwd per Circular 15-02, General Atomics, La Jolla (1/1/60 – 12/31/69).” This process is the equivalent of the SER/SEF codes discussed in Bulletin 11-07.

 

 

 

RACHEL P. LEITON

Director, Division of Energy Employees

Occupational Illness Compensation

 

Attachments

 

Distribution List No. 1:  Claims Examiners, Supervisory Claims Examiners, Technical Assistants, Customer Service Representatives, Fiscal Officers, FAB District Managers, Operation Chiefs, Hearing Representatives, District Office Mail & File Section