ORAU Role on Sick Workers Compensation Program Up for Grabs

News Sentinel, December 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

ORAU Role on Sick Workers Compensation Program Up for Grabs


on sick workers program;

new contract up for bids

OAK RIDGE -- With time running out on its existing contract, Oak Ridge Associated Universities has received a two-month extension -- through the end of February -- for work that's essential to the government's sick nuclear workers compensation program.

Since the program's inception in 2001, ORAU has performed so- called "dose reconstructions," a complicated -- and sometimes controversial -- process that determines how much radiation a worker received over the course of his or her career in the nuclear weapons complex and the likelihood that the radiation caused the worker's cancer. Former Oak Ridge workers have received well over $1 billion from the compensation fund over the past decade.

The reason for the contract extension is that the work for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is up for bids, and the proposals are still under review. A spokeswoman at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said a contract award is still "a few months away."

Bernadette Burden of the CDC said proposals for the new contract, which calls for a one-year base contract with four one-year options, were due July 9. She declined to say how many bids were received or discuss other details, such as the estimated value of the work.

The current contract, awarded in 2009, is held by a team that includes Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Dade Moeller & Associates, and MJW Technical Services.

The value of that work was previously estimated at $30 million a year.

ORAU President Andy Page recently confirmed that the proposal ORAU submitted for the new contract includes Dade Moeller and MJW as partners, but he said the proposal teams have not yet gone through the "best-and-final" process in the procurement in which there can be adjustments.

Page said he did not know if other bids were submitted for the contract or how many.

The Energy Employees Occupational Illness and Compensation Act was passed by Congress in 2000, establishing the compensation program for civilian employees who worked in the nuclear weapons production and testing programs. In order to qualify for payment, a worker's cancer must be one of the types on a list of cancers with a known association to radiation exposures. The evaluation process also must show that the worker's radiation exposure was such that it was as likely as not to have caused the cancer.

According to the government's request for proposals on the new contract, "While the number of cases to be processed on an annual basis is subject to fluctuation, offerors shall prepare their proposals assuming that 3,320 dose reconstructions shall be required each year (64 per week for 52 weeks). …

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ORAU Role on Sick Workers Compensation Program Up for Grabs
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