Category Archives: Defense Base Act

Defense Base Act Coverage for U.S. Government Contractors Working in Puerto Rico

Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case, from Causey Wright.

October 15, 2018

NOTICE TO EMPLOYERS, INSURANCE CARRIERS, SELF-INSURED EMPLOYERS UNDER THE LONGSHORE AND HARBOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT, AND OTHER INTERESTED PERSONS

SUBJECT: Defense Base Act Coverage for U.S. Government Contractors Working in Puerto Rico

In the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico in September of 2017, various agencies of the United States have utilized the services of private contractors to provide humanitarian and other assistance as part of the global relief effort there. The Defense Base Act (DBA) requires private contractors performing work under a U.S. government contract to purchase DBA insurance to cover their employees working in Puerto Rico.

The DBA, an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, applies to injuries incurred by workers in Puerto Rico working under a contract with the U.S. government, see Section 1, 42 U.S.C. § 1651(a)(1-6).

Federal agency contracting personnel should include contract provisions requiring private contractors to secure DBA insurance from a carrier authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor.  Because the DBA applies to all employees of government contractors, DBA insurance must be in place before workers are deployed to Puerto Rico or work is performed in Puerto Rico.  The DBA applies to U.S. workers, local workers, and foreign national workers.

When DBA insurance is properly secured, the DBA provides the exclusive remedy for these workers who sustain an injury, an illness, or are killed. The DBA is administered by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC).  OWCP/DLHWC authorizes insurance carriers to write DBA policies and employers to self-insure for DBA. See a list of those insurance carriers which are currently authorized to write DBA coverage.

If an employee covered by the DBA sustains a work-related injury, it must be reported to OWCP/DLHWC.  The DBA carrier should also be contacted immediately.  An employee may submit a claim for injuries arising from employment under a U.S. government contract in Puerto Rico to OWCP/DLHWC.  The case will then be assigned based on where the claimant resides.

For more information Visit the USDOL Defenst Base Act  and Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Defense Base Act pages.

Photo by The National Guard on Foter.com / CC BY

Fixing Our Inadequate Brain Science

Today’s post comes from guest author Jay Causey, from Causey Law Firm.

The high incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) affecting our returning Afghanistan and Iraq veterans, and also our civilian contractor employees, has helped to highlight the inadequacy of the current level of “brain science.”

More than one in five Americans – – over 60 million people – – suffer brain disorder from injury or illness. 600 conditions exist, ranging from autism and Alzheimer’s to the aforementioned TBI and PTSD. Not a single one of these conditions has been cured.  Brain ailments affect more people than heart disease and cancer combined, yet those conditions receive 3 to 5 times more funding for research.

Unlike science for other conditions and diseases, brain science has not had the advantage of an umbrella organization to its coordinate efforts. Brain science research and funding has been fragmented, researchers have often been territorial and overly concerned with intellectual property issues, and the corporate funding that has come mostly from the pharmaceutical industry has been shrinking. An organization named One Mind has recently been created to attack the shortcomings of brain science by advocating for the principle of “open science,” which fosters collaborative scientific work with accessible central data collection for researchers. This process in turn allows for accelerated integration of data and validation of results for publication. All of this should allow basic research to more rapidly reach the clinical setting and benefit patients of brain ailment.

One Mind has two programs currently in progress: Gemini, in which 11 research centers will enroll 3000 patients in a longitudinal brain injury study; and Apollo, which is developing a data exchange portal that will support the collaborative effort described above and will create a digital marketplace accessible by students, teachers and researchers.

One Mind is currently headed by CEO Gen. Pete Chiarelli, U.S. Army (retired) who as vice chief of the Army was instrumental in Department of Defense efforts on PTSD, TBI, and suicide prevention. In 2013 Chiarelli received the “Patriot Award” for his work with soldiers and their families dealing with the so-called “invisible wounds” of war.

The author recently attended a presentation in Seattle by Gen. Chiarelli, who provided much additional anecdotal information about the shortcomings of brain science and the efforts by One Mind. He noted, for example, that the diagnostic criteria currently in use for assessing PTSD are decades old and woefully inadequate for mental health practitioners to accurately diagnose and assess the condition.

Go to www.onemind.org for a full review of the organization, its mission and its programs.

Photo credit: “Central nervous system drawing circa 1900”

 Double–M / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)