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Check out the New EEOICPA Ombudsman’s Website
February 12, 2020
February 12, 2020
Talk to Terrie: Feb 2020 Blog
EEOICPA’s Ombudsman’s New and Improved Website
Funny story. – when the Office of the Ombudsman was first created back in 2004, the first Ombudsman, Donald Shalhoub, attended a Department of Labor’s Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program’s (DEEOIC) town hall meeting for Rocky Flats workers. Back then DEEOIC didn’t interact with the advocates as much as they do now. We were excited, yet, leery of the new Ombudsman.
After the town hall presentation ended a couple of hours later, I saw Mr. Shalhoub walking towards the back of the auditorium where the exits were located. I thought to myself, “Uh-uh. You’re not leaving before I get a chance to talk to you, one-on-one.”
I made a bee line up the aisle and intercepted him before he reached the door. I took a deep breath and laid out all the problems the claimants faced, inside of probably 3 minutes. Mr. Shalhoub graciously listened to my impromptu rant. He then cleared up any doubt I had about him and his office’s dedication to the claimants. He told me that he wasn’t ducking out but simply wanted to grab a glass of water at the table located behind me! He offered to continue the discussion. I was quite embarrassed that I misinterpreted his actions but readily agreed. Thus began my fifteen-year association with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Malcolm Nelson has been the Ombudsman since 2006. He and his staff have continued to do their best to serve the claimants. They are not only compassionate but very, very smart.
This may sound silly but I was quite happy to learn about the Ombudsman’s new website design.
In past Annual Reports to Congress, the Ombudsman has noted that DEEOIC’s website contains many resources which are helpful to claimants. This is so true. I’m on it all the time. However, the vast amount of information available on DEEOIC’s website may be a bit overwhelming for some claimants. The Ombudsman’s revised page narrows those resources to a more manageable selection which is most likely easier for new claimants.
The page also has a page for Frequently Asked Questions the office receives. For instance, did you know you can request a member of the Ombudsman’s office to attend a meeting?
Believe it or not though, some of the information on this page is already outdated. For instance, the term of the Office has been extended until October 28, 2020. And, in addition to providing information about the program and compiling the types and number of complaints the office receives, the revised statute now permits the office to provide guidance and assistance to claimants. The Ombudsman’s Office is currently working on how best to fulfill this new responsibility.
So, check out the site. I’m sure if you see something that you would like to see on this site that isn’t there – or any other problems, concerns or issues with the program, for that matter – I’m sure the Ombudsman would love to hear from you.