Outreach: Identify and Notify Eligible DOE Workers About FWP Medical Screening Services
All former DOE Federal, contractor, and subcontractor employees from all facilities are eligible to participate in the program. Although the historical best estimate for the population of former workers who are entitled to receive medical evaluations under the FWP is upwards of 600,000 individuals, the precise number of workers remains unknown.
Most of the FWP projects use multiple outreach methods to increase the visibility of the program in communities surrounding DOE sites and to notify potentially eligible DOE workers about the availability of FWP services. These methods are three-fold: 1) roster-based, 2) community-based, and 3) organization-based.
To implement efficient and inclusive screening programs, EHSS works closely with DOE Headquarters program offices to obtain rosters of former employees from site contractors and DOE site offices. Rosters are lists of names, along with other identifying information, of former DOE workers that may be available from employers or DOE. Invitations are sent by the FWP projects to employees on the rosters, using the last known addresses. When addresses are found to be outdated or inaccurate, supplemental outreach methods are used; these include Internal Revenue Service mailings and address-update services, such as credit bureaus.
However, from the inception of the FWP, DOE recognized the challenges inherent in locating workers to participate in the medical screening program since there is no centralized database of DOE workers. In addition, many workers were intermittently employed by subcontractors, and these companies typically do not leave a copy of employee records with the prime contractor when their job is completed. The result is that the availability of rosters varies greatly by site.
To overcome this obstacle, the FWP also employs a community-based approach to increase the likelihood of successfully locating and informing former workers of the program. Chief among these practices is the greater reliance on former workers themselves to serve as program advocates. Specifically, the FWP projects have recruited former workers to serve as local outreach coordinators. These coordinators or local "ground teams" are one of the program's most effective resources for identifying and reaching out to their former colleagues and coworkers.
Organization-based approaches center on DOE workers' direct or indirect contact with their former employers, unions, or news media. These contacts are enhanced by the relative closeness of rural communities where many DOE facilities are located. Local unions are also actively involved and engaged with the FWP in identifying potential participants. A great advantage of both the community- and organization-based outreach is that the communication can be targeted either to the individual DOE worker or to an entire DOE worker population.
In addition, program information is shared through providing FWP brochures in exit packets for workers separating from the site and publishing program materials and hyperlinks on retiree and DOE site webpages.
The necessity for effective and creative outreach has gained increasing prominence over the life of the FWP, as the less easily located and notified workers require added effort and attention in order to fulfill the mandate of the FWP.
As of September 30, 2012, upwards of 456,000 potential FWP participants have been contacted. Those who are interested and eligible have either completed their examinations or are in the process of being scheduled for an exam.