House bill

CBO assesses impact on FECA program of pending internal bill

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A bill (HR-6087) pending a vote in the House could make injured federal employees eligible for benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act, but could also cause them to return to work sooner, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The measure recently passed by the House Education and Labor Committee would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to diagnose, prescribe treatment and certify an injury and the extent of disability for the purposes of compensating federal employees under of the FECA program.

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The CBO said it expects these providers “to be paid at the same rate as physicians and that the total benefits paid to injured federal workers will not change significantly.” Some people may receive faster treatment under the bill. . . on the other hand, if injured workers receive treatment more quickly, they can return to work more quickly, which could reduce costs for some cases of FECA.

The latter is a consideration for the management of the agency, since the costs of FECA are charged to the salary accounts of the employing agency.

The CBO predicted that the net budgetary effect of enacting the bill would be a washout.

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