House Bill Could Improve Workers Comp for Federal Employees

Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., introduced legislation that would provide more convenient, reimbursable health care to federal employees who suffer injuries on the job.

The bill, Improving Access to Workers’ Compensation for Injured Federal Workers Act, would amend the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act by recognizing physician assistants, nurse practitioners and several other advanced practice nursing specialties as covered providers.

Currently, claims signed by physician assistants and nurse practitioners are denied by the Department of Labor.

Hare pointed out that in many rural parts of the countries, physician assistants and nurse practitioners are the sole full-time health care providers.

“Our injured federal workers should not have to go on a wild goose chase to find providers that can offer quality, reimbursable care,” he said. “This bill ensures that federal workers in rural areas have the same access to health benefits as their urban and suburban counterparts.”

The majority of state workers’ compensation programs already recognize physician assistants and nurse practitioners as providers and are legally regulated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

The legislation has been endorsed by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, which call the act “ a good public policy.”

“[The act] allows injured federal workers greater access to health care and providing needed flexibility to physician-physician assistant health teams,” said Sandra Harding, the academy’s director of federal affairs.

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