The Former Worker Medical Screening Program (FWP) provides ongoing medical screening examinations, at no cost, to all former DOE Federal, contractor, and subcontractor workers who may be at risk for occupational diseases. The FWP is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) and reflects our commitment to the health and safety of all DOE workers - past and present - who have served the Nation in its National security and other missions.
The FWP was established following the issuance of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 (PL 102-484), which called for DOE to assist workers with determining whether they had health issues related to their prior work with DOE. The medical screening efforts were initiated in 1996.
The FWP uses independent occupational health experts from universities, labor unions, and commercial organizations to administer the medical screening program. To ensure objective and credible medical examinations, the exams are offered by third-party providers. Screenings are provided at clinics in communities near DOE sites, as well as through a large network of health clinics nationwide to allow for services to be provided in close proximity to most workers' residences. In fact, this vast network of clinics has allowed the FWP to provide participant exams in all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.
Medical screening is a strategy used to identify diseases or conditions in a select population at an early stage, often before signs and symptoms develop, and to refer individuals with suspicious findings to their personal physician or a specialist for further testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Follow-up care is not covered by the FWP, and the medical screening program is not intended to serve as a substitute for routine medical exams through an individual's personal physician.
The screening examinations provided through the FWP are specifically designed to check for adverse health outcomes related to a broad range of potentially hazardous exposures, including radiation, beryllium, asbestos, lasers, silica, lead, cadmium, chromium, solvents, noise, and other occupational exposures.
The components of the screening examination are based on an individual's work and exposure history. The screening exam may include a physical exam, chest x-ray, breathing test, hearing exam, basic blood work, and urinalysis, as well as specialized blood and urine tests for certain at-risk individuals.
The FWP infrastructure consists of four designated regional projects located near major DOE sites, as well as two nationwide projects. The regional projects include:
- Pantex Former Worker Program, conducted by Drexel University in conjunction with The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Tyler and West Texas A & M Partners Clinic
- Medical Exam Program for Former Workers from Los Alamos and Sandia (NM) National Laboratories conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in conjunction with the University of New Mexico
- Worker Health Protection Program conducted jointly by Queens College of the City University of New York, United Steelworkers, the Atomic Trades and Labor Council in Oak Ridge, and the former Fernald Atomic Trades and Labor Council
- Former Worker Medical Screening Program for Line 1/Division B Iowa Army Ammunition Plant and Ames Laboratory conducted by The University of Iowa College of Public Health
The two nationwide projects include:
- The National Supplemental Screening Program, conducted by Oak Ridge Associated Universities in conjunction with National Jewish Health, Comprehensive Health Services, Axion Health, and the University of Colorado Denver
- The Building Trades National Medical Screening Program, conducted by CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center, and Zenith American Solutions, Inc.
In FY 2005, DOE also initiated a separate beryllium sensitization screening effort for employees of defunct DOE beryllium vendors who were employed with these companies while they performed work for DOE. These individuals typically have no other access to the beryllium sensitization screening, because their employers are no longer in business.
Most participants of the FWP and the beryllium vendor screening program have been reassured that they were not harmed, and those with medical findings have been assisted with referral for medical follow-up and/or to the Department of Labor's Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP).