S 545

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 545

To amend the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 to strengthen the quality control measures in place for part B lung disease claims and part E processes with independent reviews.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 10, 2011

Mr. UDALL of Colorado introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To amend the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 to strengthen the quality control measures in place for part B lung disease claims and part E processes with independent reviews.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. ADVISORY BOARD ON TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND WORKER HEALTH.

    (a) Establishment- Subtitle B of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 7384l et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 3632. ADVISORY BOARD ON TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND WORKER HEALTH.

    `(a) Establishment-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the President shall establish and appoint an Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health (referred to in this section as the `Board').

      `(2) CONSULTATION ON APPOINTMENTS- In appointing members to the Board under paragraph (1), the President shall consult with organizations with expertise on worker health issues in order to ensure that the membership of the Board reflects a proper balance among perspectives from the scientific, medical, legal, workers, and worker advocate communities.

      `(3) CHAIRPERSON- The President shall designate a chairperson of the Board from among its members.

    `(b) Duties- The Board shall--

      `(1) provide advice to the President concerning the review and approval of the Department of Labor site exposure matrix;

      `(2) conduct periodic peer reviews of, and approve, medical guidance for part E claims examiners with respect to the weighing of a claimant's medical evidence;

      `(3) obtain periodic expert reviews of medical evidentiary requirements for part B claims related to lung diseases;

      `(4) provide oversight over consulting physicians and reports to ensure quality, objectivity, and consistency of the consultant physicians' work; and

      `(5) coordinate where applicable exchanges of data and findings with the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (under section 3624).

    `(c) Staff and Powers-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The President shall appoint a staff to facilitate the work of the Board. The staff of the Board shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed under subchapter VIII of chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code.

      `(2) FEDERAL AGENCY PERSONNEL- The President may authorize the detail of employees of Federal agencies to the Board as necessary to enable the Board to carry out its duties under this section. The detail of such personnel may be on a non-reimbursable basis.

      `(3) POWERS- The Board shall have same powers that the Advisory Board has under section 3624.

    `(d) Expenses- The members of the Board, other than full-time employees of the United States, while attending meetings of the Board or while otherwise serving at the request of the President, and while serving away from their homes or regular place of business, shall be allowed travel and meal expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence (as authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code) for individuals in the Federal Government serving without pay.

    `(e) Security Clearances-

      `(1) REQUIREMENT- The Secretary of Energy shall ensure that the members and staff of the Board, and the contractors performing work in support of the Board, are afforded the opportunity to apply for a security clearance for any matter for which such a clearance is appropriate. The Secretary should, not later than 180 days after receiving a completed application for such a clearance, make a determination whether or not the individual concerned is eligible for the clearance.

      `(2) BUDGET JUSTIFICATION- For fiscal year 2012, and each fiscal year thereafter, the Secretary of Energy shall include in the budget justification materials submitted to Congress in support of the Department of Energy budget for that fiscal year (as submitted with the budget of the President under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code) a report specifying the number of applications for security clearances under this subsection, the number of such applications granted, and the number of such applications denied.

    `(f) Information- The Secretary of Energy shall, in accordance with law, provide to the Board and the contractors of the Board, access to any information that the Board considers relevant to carry out its responsibilities under this section, including information such as restricted data (as defined in section 2014(y)) and information covered by the Privacy Act.'.

    (b) Department of Labor Response to the Office of the Ombudsman Annual Report- Section 3686 of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 7385s-15) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating subsection (h) as subsection (i); and

      (2) by inserting after subsection (g), the following:

    `(h) Response to Report- Not later than 90 days after the publication of the annual report under subsection (e), the Department of Labor shall submit an answer in writing on whether the Department agrees or disagrees with the specific issues raised by the Ombudsman, if the Department agrees, on the actions to be taken to correct the problems identified by the Ombudsman, and if the Department does not agree, on the reasons therefore. The Department of Labor shall post such answer on the public Internet website of the Department.'.

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