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Jan. 4, 2006

Seattle firm chosen to evaluate Hanford injured-worker claims

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

Miller & Miller, P.S., 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.

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, P.S., through a competitive bid process.

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 at a time and location that has yet to be decided.

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For media information: Robert T. Nelson, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6043 or nelq235@LNI.wa.gov, or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.lni.wa.gov/News.

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