Penser North America has been awarded a new contract worth about $4.4 million to administer Hanford employee claims made to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
Penser, a small business in Lacey, has been the Hanford third-party administrator for workers' compensation claims management since it won its first contract for the work in 2009.
Its job is to investigate, adjudicate and manage workers' compensation claims under state regulations for self-insured organizations. It gathers and submits information on workers' claims to L&I.
The new contract, which started Wednesday, includes a two-year base period with three one-year option periods.
"Penser's bid was determined to provide the best value to the government through a competitive bid process that included a technical evaluation and evaluation of price reasonableness," Hanford employees were told in a memo Thursday.
Penser's performance has been very good or exceptional each year of its contract, as measured by contract reviews, the memo said.
Penser's just-expired contract included $50,000 in annual incentive pay depending on how well it performed certain tasks, including providing good customer service, contacting claimants promptly and performing good public outreach. It was awarded the full incentive pay each of the first four years of its contract, with the evaluation of the fifth year yet to be completed.
The incentive fee was included in the 2009 contract after DOE heard complaints at public meetings about poor communication and slow decisions by the previous contractor.
The new contract does not include the incentive fee, but the expectations remain the same and are included in the contract, said DOE spokesman Geoff Tyree. There is no incentive for approval or denial of claims, he said.
DOE also monitors Penser's performance with the help of audits performed by the state of Washington on how the company administers claims filed by Hanford workers, including whether it adheres to state law in administering claims and its recommendations on disposition of claims. Penser has performed well in those audits, the memo said.
L&I has oversight authority over the workers' compensation claims process and reviews all information before allowing or denying a claim.
DOE and Penser are offering briefings to Hanford workers on the workers' compensation program, including how to file a claim and the steps in the claims process.
-- Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @HanfordNews