Injured employees throughout the nation have experienced denials of their workers' compensation claims, denial of essential medical treatments, and lost wages due to denied compensation claims. In many instances, these injured workers were told by their medical providers that the doctor's office would "take care of everything" for them, only to find themselves with large unpaid medical bills and no assistance following the denial of their claim. There are numerous wellness centers and treatment facilities that cater specifically and only to injured federal employees, marketing themselves as a "one-stop-shop" for dealing with OWCP.
However, federal workers' compensation fraud is unfortunately a regular occurrence across the country. Examples can be readily found online. Some providers have taken advantage of injured employees by:
Following a traumatic injury, one of the first concerns for an injured employee and their family is compensation. The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) has a provision known as Continuation of Pay (COP) which requires that the employing agency must continue the injured employee's regular pay during any period of work-related disability, up to a maximum of 45 calendar days. The agency, not OWCP, pays COP. Unlike wage loss benefits, COP is subject to taxes and all other payroll deductions that are made from regular income.
The agency must continue the pay of an injured employee, who is eligible for COP, and may not require the employee to use his or her own sick or annual leave, unless special provisions apply. However, while continuing the employee's pay, the employer may controvert the employee's COP entitlement pending a final determination by OWCP. OWCP has the exclusive authority to determine questions of entitlement and all other issues relating to COP.
Many injured employees may find a contracted nursing service heavily involved in their workers' compensation claim. Injured workers often have questions about the scope and roles of the contracted nurses. Below you will find a description and discussion of the two types of nurses that may be assigned to a claim, OWCP contracted nurses, and employing agency contracted nurses. Each has their own unique role in the return to work effort.