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AB-808 Workers’ compensation: hospital employers: presumption.(2011-2012)

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Amended  IN  Senate  August 06, 2012
Amended  IN  Senate  May 29, 2012
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 11, 2011
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 30, 2011

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 808


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Skinner
(Principal Coauthor(s): Senator Alquist)
(Coauthor(s): Assembly Member Wieckowski)

February 17, 2011


An act to add Section 3212.13 to the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 808, as amended, Skinner. Workers’ compensation: hospital employers: presumption.
Existing law provides that an injury of an employee arising out of and in the course of employment is generally compensable through the workers’ compensation system. Existing law provides that, in the case of certain public employees, the term “injury” includes heart trouble, hernia, pneumonia, meningitis, lower back impairment, and other injuries and diseases.
This bill would provide, with respect to hospital employees who provide direct patient care in an acute care hospital, that the term “injury” includes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infection (MRSA skin infection) that develops or manifests itself during the period of the person’s employment with the hospital. This bill would create a presumption that MRSA skin infection arises out of and in the course of the person’s employment if MRSA skin infection develops or manifests as specified. This bill would prohibit attributing MRSA skin infection that develops or manifests in those cases to any disease or skin infection existing prior to that development or manifestation.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) According to the United States Department of Labor, health care is the second fastest growing sector of the United States economy, employing over 12 million workers. Women represent nearly 80 percent of the health care workforce.
(b) By the nature of their profession, health care workers are in constant danger of being directly exposed to many infectious diseases and indirectly exposed through contact with various pieces of equipment, chemicals, and clothing.
(c) Registered nurses constitute the largest occupation within the health care sector and number over 2.5 million, of which 70 percent are employed in hospitals.
(d) Health care acquired infections in California hospitals account for an estimated 200,000 infections and 12,000 deaths annually, according to the State Department of Public Health.
(e) According to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, in 2007 there were 52,000 cases of patients infected by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at hospitals across the state.
(f) Public safety employees, such as police officers and firefighters, already have guaranteed access to the workers’ compensation system for MRSA methicillian-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infection (MRSA skin infection), HIV, cancer, leukemia, meningitis, back injuries, and other work-related illnesses and injuries. However, presumptive eligibility for workers’ compensation is nonexistent for health care workers.
(g) Due to the rise in work-related illnesses and injuries, including MRSA skin infection, it is most appropriate to protect health care workers by ensuring access to workers’ compensation for health care workers who suffer workplace injuries or contract infectious diseases.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3212.13 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

3212.13.
 (a) In the case of a hospital employee who provides direct patient care in an acute care hospital, referred to in this section as hospital employee, the term “injury,” as used in this section, includes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infection (MRSA skin infection) which develops or manifests itself during a period of the person’s employment with the hospital. The compensation awarded for that injury shall include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits, as provided by this division.
(b) (1) MRSA which skin infection that develops or manifests itself shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment. This presumption is disputable and may be controverted by other evidence, but unless other evidence is controverted, the presumptions presumption shall prevail.
(2) The MRSA skin infection presumption shall be extended to a hospital employee following termination of service for a period of 60 days, commencing with the last date actually worked.
(c) MRSA skin infection that develops or manifests itself in circumstances described in subdivision (b) shall not be attributed to any disease or skin infection existing prior to that development or manifestation.
(d) For the purposes of this section, “acute care hospital” means a health facility as defined in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code.