Despite expanded benefits, provider groups expressed some disappointment in the smallpox compensation bill now headed to President Bush for signature after passing the Senate late Friday. The bill would authorize up to $50,000 in annual compensation, with no lifetime caps, for participants in the federal government's smallpox vaccination campaign who are permanently injured by the vaccination. In a written statement, American Nurses Association President Barbara Blakeney said lawmakers should have provided funding for education, prescreening and surveillance of healthcare workers who receive the vaccine. The Service Employees International Union, however, said offering compensation for injuries could spur more healthcare workers to volunteer to get inoculated. -- by Tony Fong
Some flaws seen in smallpox compensation bill
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