Federal Times Blogs
By all accounts, pledges to the 2013 Combined Federal Campaign are going to be down by tens of millions of dollars in comparison with the 2012 CFC. This is, of course, money that mostly goes to charities. But which charities benefit from federal employee giving (and could thus see a falloff in contributions)?
The Office of Personnel Management does not collect that information. Instead, the Workplace Giving Alliance, a Massachusetts-based coalition of CFC federations, decided to do the job on its own, compiling pledge information for the last three years from most local campaigns and then extrapolating to fill in the gaps.
In a report released a few months ago, here’s what the group found: Among national and international charities, the biggest CFC beneficiary in the 2012 season was the American Red Cross, which received more than $7 million in pledges. Runner-up was St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which got about $6.7 million, following by the Wounded Warrior Project, with about $5 million. In general, health, religious, veterans, education and animal-related charities did well; you can read the full report here.
After getting a snow day Thursday, federal employees in the D.C. region can arrive up to two hours late at their offices Friday, and also have the option of unscheduled leave or telework, the Office of Personnel Management has just announced.
With Monday a federal holiday, some feds may have been hoping for a five-day weekend. That’s still an option, but for tomorrow, it will have to be on their own time.
Federal offices in the Washington, D.C. area will be closed Thursday, the Office of Personnel Management has announced. The early call came Wednesday evening as snow is already accumulating.
As usual, emergency and telework-ready employees must follow their agencies’ policies. But for those who have the chance to sleep a little later tomorrow morning, enjoy it. And stay safe.
Every year, tens of thousands of federal employees retire or otherwise leave their jobs. But some agencies have much higher turnover rates than others. That data nugget is buried in a recent Government Accountability Office report examining government workforce trends. From fiscal 2004 through 2012, the average annual government retirement rate was 3.5 percent, the average resignation rate, 2.4 percent, for a combined “separation rate” of 5.9 percent, according to the report.
But when GAO reviewers looked at 24 individual agencies, they found a pretty big spread around that average. During that 2004-12 period, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency had an average yearly separation rate of 4.3 percent, less than half the figure for the Office of Personnel Management. Here is a ranking of the agencies culled from the GAO numbers. While workforce age would clearly be one factor in explaining the variations, are there others that come to mind?
1. Environmental Protection Agency
2. Justice Department
3. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
4. Transportation Department
5. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
6. Department of Health and Human Services
7. Social Security Administration
8. Department of Veterans Affairs
9. Housing and Urban Development Department
10. Department of Homeland Security
11. General Services Administration
12. Agriculture Department
13. Interior Department
14. Energy Department
15. State Department
16, Labor Department
18. U.S. Agency for International Development
19. Defense Department
20. National Science Foundation
21. Treasury Department
22. Education Department
23. Small Business Administration
24. Office of Personnel Management
The icy rain pelting the D.C. region notwithstanding, federal agencies are open today, the Office of Personnel Management says, but employees have the option of unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. Click here for the advisory posted on OPM’s website. Stay safe!
Federal offices in the Washington, D.C. region will be open Wednesday, but with employees allowed to arrive up to two hours later than usual, according to an Office of Personnel Management advisory. Workers will also have the option of unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework, OPM said.
Wednesday’s delayed opening comes after federal agencies in the area were closed Tuesday because of a winter storm.
With a major winter storm moving in, federal agencies in the Washington, D.C. region are closed today, the Office of Personnel Management has announced. As usual, emergency staff and telework-ready employees must follow their agencies’ policies. Here is the text of the official advisory.
In the area, snow is expected to begin falling around 7 a.m., with accumulations of 6 to 10 inches, according to this National Weather Service winter storm warning. For anyone who’s keeping track (FedLine always like to keep things in context), this is the second snow day of the season for several hundred thousand D.C.-area feds; the first was Dec. 10. Stay safe, everyone!
For all the talk of a looming “retirement tsumani” throughout the federal workforce, the picture is actually a lot more nuanced. Some agencies–or agency components–have a ratio of retirement-eligibles well above the government-wide average of about 14 percent; some are so far below that the threat looks more like a ripple than a tidal wave, according to data provided by the Office of Personnel Management.
So where does your agency stand? Check out this nifty chart.
No Friday snow day for feds in the D.C. region.
That’s the word from Office of Personnel Management; although the weather remains exceedingly messy late Thursday night, it’s evidently not messy enough to warrant mass closings Friday. As usual in these situations, federal employees have the option of unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. For anyone wanting to see the official notice, here’s the link: http://www.opm.gov/.
The short answer? Maybe.
Dive into the longer but far more satisfying answer below…
While some company and local government health plans cover care for transgender policy-holders, the Federal government does not and specifically excludes transition-related care from coverage.
Transition-related care may include hormone replacement therapy, mental health services, and sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). The costs of this care can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, putting it beyond the reach of many who need it.
But some recent and almost unnoticeable steps by federal agencies could mean transgender care coverage federal employees and many others.
Many people believe the inner workings of the government are needlessly complex or hopelessly laborious. And in many cases they are.
So follow me into the workings of the government so I can show you.
On Dec. 2 the departmental appeals board at the Health and Human Services Department decided that the “National Coverage Determination” (basically what is covered under Medicare and Medicaid and other programs) excluding sexual reassignment surgery specifically from Medicare coverage needed to be revisited.
The coverage decision has been in place since May 6, 1981 and the original determination stated:
“Transsexual surgery for sex reassignment of transsexuals is controversial. Because of the lack of well controlled, long term studies of the safety and effectiveness of the surgical procedures and attendant therapies for transsexualism, the treatment is considered experimental;. Moreover there is a high rate of serious complications for these surgical procedures. For these reasons, transsexual surgery is not covered.”
The complaint that sparked this action noted that the language was terribly out of date and had no real bearing on modern day medicine. It seems HHS is inclined to agree.
But what does this have to do with Federal employees? In addition to administering Medicare, HHS is also responsible for enforcement of section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which covers “any health program or activity, any part of which is receiving Federal financial assistance, including credits, subsidies, or contracts of insurance, or under any program or activity that is administered by an Executive Agency or any entity established under this title [of the ACA].”
If you read that and thought the scope of the inquiry was extensive you are right. It covers a wide range of programs, including at least Medicare, Medicaid and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.
On an HHS Q and A on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – which prohibits discrimination on the bases of “race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities” the agency answered a list of self-imposed questions, including:
“Does this mean that transition related surgery is required to be covered by health insurers?”
The answer was a simple “no.”
But the Q and A has since vanished from the site. (Update: I want to make clear the Q and A I link to is a web archive version.)
At the same time the agency issued a request for information on the same section (1557) seeking “information on a variety of issues to better understand individuals’ experiences with discrimination in health programs or activities and covered entities’ experiences in complying with Federal civil rights laws.”
The agency specifically requested examples of covered discrimination on the basis of sex, ‘including discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sex stereotyping, or pregnancy.”
While the rulemaking is far from complete these are signs the administration is open to changing how it treats its transgender employees.
This could be a huge step in getting transgender care covered under the health plans available to millions of people across the country.
I have reached out to the Office of Personnel Management and to HHS for comment. I will update if I hear anything.