Even more new info from DOL about COVID-19 OWCP claims

Aside from the changes to COVID-19 OWCP claims we published earlier this month, DOL published some additional information.

This past Friday, DOL published a bulletin containing several questions and answers, and one, in particular, is going to trip up employees who don’t explain the below information to their doctor.

In other words, you can’t only submit a positive COVID-19 test to qualify for COP.

Here’s what we recommend employees do if they test positive for COVID-19, believe they know exactly when they were exposed to it, and intend to submit a Form CA-1:

  1. If you suspect you have COVID-19, take an at-home test, schedule an appointment with your doctor, or visit a clinic or urgent care provider. NOTE: if you test positive with an at-home COVID-19 test, you must follow up with a doctor to be tested again, as DOL will not accept an at-home test alone.
  2. When/If you test positive for COVID-19 at a doctor’s office, tell the doctor that you need a medical note that “explains why you are not able to perform the duties of your position as a result of the positive COVID-19 diagnosis for the work days missed.”

    For example, the doctor likely expects you to quarantine because you are contagious. However, the doctor may also want you to have enough time to rest and recover from COVID-19. If that is the case, or they have other reasons for why you need to be away from work, they need to explain that in the medical documentation as thoroughly as possible, in addition to the need to quarantine.
  3. Notify your supervisor that you tested positive. If you intend to submit a Form CA-1 (because you know when you were exposed to COVID-19 on duty), tell your supervisor and request the use of COP. You do not have to provide the medical documentation immediately before you go on COP, but you will have to provide it eventually.
  4. Fill out and submit the Form CA-1 on www.ecomp.dol.gov, and upload the medical documentation.
  5. If you are unable to get a doctor’s appointment right away, you can still fill out the Form CA-1 and use COP (if you know when you were exposed to COVID-19 at work), and you can upload the medical documentation after the appointment. However, you must submit the medical documentation as soon as possible, within 10 days.
  6. If you do not submit appropriate medical documentation in time and you used COP, the agency will be required to convert those days of COP over to sick leave or annual leave.

We expect that some supervisors are going to struggle with this and require you to provide the doctor’s note before letting you use COP. That’s not how it works, but make sure you understand that if you don’t ultimately provide the appropriate medical documentation from your doctor, DOL may reverse the COP and make you use your own leave.

Counseling sessions, PTSD resiliency for DRT employees

Dr. Carrie Elk is returning to Del Rio Sector to follow up on previous consultations and to give presentations to and meet with other employees who are interested in speaking with her.

She provides group and individual consults with employees, generally focusing on psychological trauma, but is also available for other matters, including training on PTSD resiliency and coping skills.

Del Rio Sector has published the below schedule and sent information to the stations, along with a link to schedule an appointment. However, if you haven’t seen the email, check with your supervisor or contact DRT’s Training & Traumatic Incident Management Branch (TTIMB) for more information.

Please note that all discussions with Dr. Elk are strictly confidential.

Del Rio Sector Family Wellness Day

On February 17, 2023, from 10 am to 3 pm, Del Rio Sector HQ is hosting a family wellness day for employees and their families. Employees and their spouses are encouraged to stop by to visit with healthcare providers from throughout Del Rio Sector, federal health insurance providers, and other organizations from the surrounding area focused on veterans’ support services, general health and well-being, and other services that benefit Del Rio Sector employees.

Employees may attend while on duty but must receive approval from and coordinate with their supervisor.

For those who do not live or work near Del Rio Sector HQ, the agency plans to hold a similar event in Eagle Pass in the future to allow even more employees and their families to attend.

Notice of membership meeting – February 2023

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
7:00 pm

City of Eagle Pass International Center for Trade
West Room
3295 Bob Rogers Dr.
Eagle Pass, Texas 78852

(across the street from Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center)

Topics will include:

New pursuit policy
Additions to grooming/uniform standards
Future changes to compassionate/spousal transfer policies
NBPC Convention/AFGE caucus delegates
COVID-related OWCP changes
New mental health guidance and efforts
Grievance/arbitration updates

Notice of NBPC National Convention and AFGE District 10 Caucus

During this regularly scheduled meeting on the date/time and at the address above, members will be asked to determine if Local 2366 will participate in the NBPC National Convention and AFGE District 10 Caucus scheduled this year and, if so, the number of additional delegates, if any, they want to represent Local 2366, if the delegates will carry all votes, and if travel expenses will be authorized.

Local 2366’s six elected Executive Board Officers have already been designated as delegates by virtue of office. Members will be asked to determine if the selected delegates will carry all of Local 2366’s votes, which, if approved, would preclude the need for alternate delegates. However, if members do not approve this proposal and instead authorize additional delegate(s), then nominations for additional and alternate delegates will be accepted, and a mail ballot election will be held to elect additional and alternate delegates as governed by the AFGE Rules of Conduct for an Election, Appendix A, of the AFGE National Constitution. For those who cannot attend the meeting, nominations can be submitted via nominations@nbpc2366.org.

The designated delegates will represent Local 2366 at the NBPC National Convention set to take place in March 2023, and the AFGE District 10 Caucus set to take place on or about May 2023.

NOTE: The NBPC National Convention and AFGE District 10 Caucus are considered internal union business, and official time to travel to and from these events, or to attend these events, is not authorized. As a result, delegates attend and travel to/from these events on days off or annual leave.