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THE DIRECTOR OF THE PEACE CORPS

WASHINGTON, D,C

July 9,2009

Mr. Kevin Clark OWCP Yahoo! Group owcp2004@yahoo.com Dear Mr. Clark: We appreciate and share your concern for the ability of returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to receive needed and timely service from the Dep31tment of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) for medical claims filed under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). We are keenly aware that the claims process can be arduous and cause considerable frustration for RPCVs, and the Office of Medical Services' Post-Service Unit has been working closely with the Department of Labor (DOL) to determine how we can expedite and clalify the claims process for RPCVs. The Post-Service Unit provides considerable assistance to RPCVs as they work through the FECA process and has taken a number of significant steps to assist RPCVs in filing and tracking FECA claims with DOL. However, it is important to recognize that FECA is administered by DOL, not the Peace Corps, and DOL is solely responsible for the adjudication of all claims and reimbursements. The Post-Service Unit has been in the forefront of agency efforts to provide RPCVs with the SUppOlt, guidance, and information they deserve. A partial Jist of the steps taken by the Post Service Unit includes: AJJ Peace Corps Volunteers who are medicaJJy evacuated to Washington, D.C., meet one-on-one with a Post-Service Unit staff nurse regarding FECA benefits. All Peace Corps Volunteers who are medicaJJy separated from their country of service to their home of record recei ve a telephone caJJ from a Post-Service Unit nurse within three days of their separation to discuss their medical status and FECA benefits. The Post-Service Unit has established a separate e-mail address, psu@peacecorps.gov, which is made available to Peace Corps Volunteers at their close of service so they may submit medicaJJy related questions. This e-mail account is monitored, and queries responded to, by a Unit staff member four to five times a day. The Peace Corps has updated and expanded the RPCV health benefits section on its website devoted to FECA. Prominently displayed information in this section includes:

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Direct telephone line to Post-Service Unit Call Center: 1-800-424-8580, extension 1540 Link to Department of Labor forms: http://www.dol.gov/Jibraryforms/formsbynum.asp Link for aJl inquiries regarding biJJs or reimbursements may be addressed to the Department of Labor at: 1-866-335-8319 or http://owcp.doJ.acs-inc.com

Mr. Kevin Clark July9,2009 Page 2 Proof that our cooperative efforts with DOL are proving beneficial to our RPCVs was made evident in a recent letter from Robert Sulli van, DistJict Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs Division of Federal Employees' Compensation, who stated: "The Peace Corps was among the largest source of CA-1s and CA-2s [claims] and you submitted over 94% of your CA-1s and CA-2s within 14 days, making you 10th out of 50 for the year. This is particularly noteworthy and laudable given the nature of your enrollees' assignments." In 2008, 96 percent of those claims were submitted within 14 days. The Peace Corps is 48-years young and refining and improving its procedures as it adapts to the changing needs of Volunteers and RPCVs. The improvements listed above are proof of our recent efforts to better assist RPCVs with FECA-related issues and the OWCP. Those improvements have been accomplished by the existing Post-Service Unit. Therefore, it is the position of the Peace Corps that the idea of an ombudsman or, more likely, an Office of the Ombudsman, which has been discussed off-and-on for years, is not the answer to this or other needs of Volunteers and RPCVs. We do not need an additional layer to the system.
If you or other members of your group need assistance in dealing with OWCP, you are welcome to contact the Post-Service Unit Call Center: 1-800-424-8580, extension 1540.

Again, thank you for your inquiry and dedicated support of the Peace Corps.

Sincerely,