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  • Jeff Zeelander

Finding a medical provider for your OWCP claim

I was very recently asked by a claimant with an accepted mental health condition on their federal workers compensation (FECA) case how they can find a new medical provider as their current provider has retired. It is not an easy situation. About 15 years ago OWCP began requiring medical providers to have a "provider number" with this obscure program which immediately caused a precipitous drop in the number of doctors willing to deal with the program. Since that time, there has been a constant stream of steps taken by OWCP that have made it harder and harder for doctors to deal with the program, ultimately running into the disaster caused by OWCP giving the contract to manage medical bills to a company called CNSI which seems, even 18 months after taking over the process, incompetent to manage a billing process.


Regardless, an OWCP claimant can do a search of all providers enrolled in the system who did not opt out of having their information viewable. The following roadmap is for finding a psychologist or psychiatrist.


Here is the link to the “provider search” function:


https://owcpmed.dol.gov/


On the right side of the page, click on “Find a Provider”


After agreeing to terms that takes you to the actual “provider search” interface.


On the left, start a search by various terms, if picking state, the name of the state needs to be spelled out.


The next field that needs to be completed is “Program”, from the drop down menu immediately to the right, pick “DFEC” if you are an injured federal employee.


Searching for a psychiatrist is more complex. Firstly pick from “Provider Type” the selection “Physician (MD) & Physician (DO)” and then in “Provider Specialty” they unfortunately and for no good reason other than seemingly another instance of CNSI incompetence lump psychiatrist and neurologist together. If I am doing the search, I would google each result to see if they are listed on the internet as a psychiatrist or neurologist to reduce the number of calls. Realize that in most states, you will not find a psychiatrist accepting your FECA benefits. OWCP has successfully created a situation where the only psychiatrist who will likely ever see you is one that they pick who may only be interested in saying you are all better or your problems are due to something other than your work injury.


Searching for a psychologist is easier, in the “Provider Type” field one just selects “Psychologist”.


I recommend focusing on psychologists and if you need medications, perhaps your primary or one of your other MD/DO can prescribe your meds. There are far more to choose from, there are effectively NO psychiatrists accepting FECA benefits in most states. Additionally, don't just search your local areas, search your entire state as due to the pandemic much mental health care remains on line.


Lastly, if your medical condition(s) interfere with your ability to manage this process or your OWCP claim in general, you have the right to request accommodation assistance from OWCP. You will need a medical report explaining that need. Here is a link to instructions regarding OWCP providing assistance and accommodations:


https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/FECA/regs/compliance/assistanceandaccommodations



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