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Work Injury Statistics
A bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy in July 2007 seeks to improve access to workers' compensation for injured federal employees.
The legislation, S. 1795, seeks to allow physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) to diagnose and treat federal employees who suffer a work-related injury. This means that injured federal workers are only covered when they're treated by physicians.
This fact has resulted in hardships for many injured workers, particularly those living in rural areas where PAs and NPs are the only full-time providers of medical care. In many instances, federal workers have been required to travel more than 100 miles receive reimbursable medical care.
In addition, because many after-hours clinics are staffed by PAs and NPs and not doctors, some injured federal workers have been advised to use hospital emergency rooms for non-emergency care.
In August 2007, the bill was referred to the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia.
A related bill, H.R. 4651, in the U.S. House of Representatives was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor in mid-December 2007.