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SF 1035

as introduced - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 03/26/2021 01:00pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to workers' compensation; creating a presumption of occupational disease
for firefighters with certain forms of cancer; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020,
section 176.011, subdivision 15, as amended.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 176.011, subdivision 15, as amended by Laws
2020, Seventh Special Session chapter 1, article 2, section 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 15.

Occupational disease.

(a) "Occupational disease" means a mental impairment
as defined in paragraph (d) or physical disease arising out of and in the course of employment
peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged and due to causes in excess of
the hazards ordinary of employment and shall include undulant fever. Physical stimulus
resulting in mental injury and mental stimulus resulting in physical injury shall remain
compensable. Mental impairment is not considered a disease if it results from a disciplinary
action, work evaluation, job transfer, layoff, demotion, promotion, termination, retirement,
or similar action taken in good faith by the employer. Ordinary diseases of life to which the
general public is equally exposed outside of employment are not compensable, except where
the diseases follow as an incident of an occupational disease, or where the exposure peculiar
to the occupation makes the disease an occupational disease hazard. A disease arises out of
the employment only if there be a direct causal connection between the conditions under
which the work is performed and if the occupational disease follows as a natural incident
of the work as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment. An
employer is not liable for compensation for any occupational disease which cannot be traced
to the employment as a direct and proximate cause and is not recognized as a hazard
characteristic of and peculiar to the trade, occupation, process, or employment or which
results from a hazard to which the worker would have been equally exposed outside of the
employment.

(b) If immediately preceding the date of disablement or death, an employee was employed
on active duty with an organized fire or police department of any municipality, as a member
of the Minnesota State Patrol, conservation officer service, state crime bureau, as a forest
officer by the Department of Natural Resources, correctional officer or security counselor
employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment
facility, or sheriff or full-time deputy sheriff of any county, and the disease is that of
myocarditis, coronary sclerosis, pneumonia or its sequel, and at the time of employment
such employee was given a thorough physical examination by a licensed doctor of medicine,
and a written report thereof has been made and filed with such organized fire or police
department, with the Minnesota State Patrol, conservation officer service, state crime bureau,
Department of Natural Resources, Department of Corrections, or sheriff's department of
any county, which examination and report negatived any evidence of myocarditis, coronary
sclerosis, pneumonia or its sequel, the disease is presumptively an occupational disease and
shall be presumed to have been due to the nature of employment. If immediately preceding
the date of disablement or death, any individual who by nature of their position provides
emergency medical care, or an employee who was employed as a licensed police officer
under section 626.84, subdivision 1; firefighter; paramedic; correctional officer or security
counselor employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention, or
secure treatment facility; emergency medical technician; or licensed nurse providing
emergency medical care; and who contracts an infectious or communicable disease to which
the employee was exposed in the course of employment outside of a hospital, then the
disease is presumptively an occupational disease and shall be presumed to have been due
to the nature of employment and the presumption may be rebutted by substantial factors
brought by the employer or insurer. Any substantial factors which shall be used to rebut
this presumption and which are known to the employer or insurer at the time of the denial
of liability shall be communicated to the employee on the denial of liability.

(c) A firefighter on active duty with an organized fire department who is unable to
perform duties in the department by reason of a disabling cancer of a type caused by exposure
to heat, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen, as defined by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer, and the carcinogen is reasonably linked to the disabling
cancer, is presumed to have an occupational disease under paragraph (a). If a firefighter
who enters the service after August 1, 1988, is examined by a physician prior to being hired
and the examination discloses the existence of a cancer of a type described in this paragraph,
the firefighter is not entitled to the presumption unless a subsequent medical determination
is made that the firefighter no longer has the cancer.

(d) new text beginNotwithstanding paragraph (c), an active duty firefighter or volunteer firefighter
with an organized fire department who has been employed with the fire department at least
five years before the date of disablement or death and who is examined by a physician prior
to being hired and the examination does not disclose the existence of one of the cancers
listed in clauses (1) to (14) is presumed to have an occupational disease under paragraph
(a) if the firefighter is found to have one of the following types of cancer:
new text end

new text begin (1) testicular cancer;
new text end

new text begin (2) multiple myeloma;
new text end

new text begin (3) non-Hodgkin's lymphoma;
new text end

new text begin (4) brain cancer;
new text end

new text begin (5) malignant melanoma;
new text end

new text begin (6) skin cancer;
new text end

new text begin (7) breast cancer;
new text end

new text begin (8) leukemia;
new text end

new text begin (9) colon cancer;
new text end

new text begin (10) prostate cancer;
new text end

new text begin (11) mesothelioma;
new text end

new text begin (12) bladder cancer;
new text end

new text begin (13) kidney cancer; or
new text end

new text begin (14) rectal cancer.
new text end

new text begin A retired firefighter, including a retired volunteer firefighter, is entitled to the presumption
under this paragraph if the firefighter was employed by an organized fire department for at
least five years, and one of the cancers listed in clauses (1) to (14) is discovered up to five
years past the last date of employment.
new text end

new text begin (e) new text endFor the purposes of this chapter, "mental impairment" means a diagnosis of
post-traumatic stress disorder by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. For the purposes
of this chapter, "post-traumatic stress disorder" means the condition as described in the most
recently published edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by
the American Psychiatric Association. For purposes of section 79.34, subdivision 2, one or
more compensable mental impairment claims arising out of a single event or occurrence
shall constitute a single loss occurrence.

deleted text begin (e)deleted text end new text begin(f) new text endIf, preceding the date of disablement or death, an employee who was employed
on active duty as: a licensed police officer; a firefighter; a paramedic; an emergency medical
technician; a licensed nurse employed to provide emergency medical services outside of a
medical facility; a public safety dispatcher; a correctional officer or security counselor
employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment
facility; a sheriff or full-time deputy sheriff of any county; or a member of the Minnesota
State Patrol is diagnosed with a mental impairment as defined in paragraph (d), and had not
been diagnosed with the mental impairment previously, then the mental impairment is
presumptively an occupational disease and shall be presumed to have been due to the nature
of employment. This presumption may be rebutted by substantial factors brought by the
employer or insurer. Any substantial factors that are used to rebut this presumption and that
are known to the employer or insurer at the time of the denial of liability shall be
communicated to the employee on the denial of liability. The mental impairment is not
considered an occupational disease if it results from a disciplinary action, work evaluation,
job transfer, layoff, demotion, promotion, termination, retirement, or similar action taken
in good faith by the employer.

deleted text begin (f)deleted text end new text begin(g) new text endNotwithstanding paragraph (a) and the rebuttable presumption for infectious or
communicable diseases in paragraph (b), an employee who contracts COVID-19 is presumed
to have an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment if the
employee satisfies the requirements of clauses (1) and (2).

(1) The employee was employed as a licensed peace officer under section 626.84,
subdivision 1
; firefighter; paramedic; nurse or health care worker, correctional officer, or
security counselor employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention,
or secure treatment facility; emergency medical technician; a health care provider, nurse,
or assistive employee employed in a health care, home care, or long-term care setting, with
direct COVID-19 patient care or ancillary work in COVID-19 patient units; and workers
required to provide child care to first responders and health care workers under Executive
Order 20-02 and Executive Order 20-19.

(2) The employee's contraction of COVID-19 must be confirmed by a positive laboratory
test or, if a laboratory test was not available for the employee, as diagnosed and documented
by the employee's licensed physician, licensed physician's assistant, or licensed advanced
practice registered nurse (APRN), based on the employee's symptoms. A copy of the positive
laboratory test or the written documentation of the physician's, physician assistant's, or
APRN's diagnosis shall be provided to the employer or insurer.

(3) Once the employee has satisfied the requirements of clauses (1) and (2), the
presumption shall only be rebutted if the employer or insurer shows the employment was
not a direct cause of the disease. A denial of liability under this paragraph must meet the
requirements for a denial under section 176.221, subdivision 1.

(4) The date of injury for an employee who has contracted COVID-19 under this
paragraph shall be the date that the employee was unable to work due to a diagnosis of
COVID-19, or due to symptoms that were later diagnosed as COVID-19, whichever occurred
first.

(5) An employee who has contracted COVID-19 but who is not entitled to the
presumption under this paragraph is not precluded from claiming an occupational disease
as provided in other paragraphs of this subdivision or from claiming a personal injury under
subdivision 16.

(6) The commissioner shall provide a detailed report on COVID-19 workers'
compensation claims under this paragraph to the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council,
and chairs and ranking minority members of the house of representatives and senate
committees with jurisdiction over workers' compensation, by January 15, 2021.

Sec. 2. new text beginREVISOR INSTRUCTION.
new text end

new text begin The revisor of statutes shall make any cross-reference changes to Minnesota Statutes
needed as a result of the relettering of paragraphs in section 1.
new text end