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AB-664 Workers’ compensation: injury: communicable disease.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/18/2020 02:00 PM
AB664:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 18, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 05, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  April 17, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 13, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 664


Introduced by Assembly Members Cooper, Bonta, and Gonzalez
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry and McCarty)
(Principal coauthors: Senators Hueso and Umberg)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bloom, Boerner Horvath, Burke, Cervantes, Chau, Chen, Chiu, Flora, Gloria, Kalra, Lackey, Low, Mathis, Medina, Melendez, Petrie-Norris, Ramos, Rodriguez, Voepel, Waldron, and Wicks)
(Coauthors: Senators Galgiani Galgiani, Lena Gonzalez, and Stern)

February 15, 2019


An act to amend Section 4663 of, and to add Section 3212.18 to, the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 664, as amended, Cooper. Workers’ compensation: injury: communicable disease.
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of employment. Existing law creates a disputable presumption that specified injuries sustained in the course of employment of a specified member of law enforcement or a specified first responder arose out of and in the course of employment.
Existing law also makes an employer liable only for the percentage of permanent disability directly caused by the injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment. Existing law requires apportionment of permanent disability to be based on causation, and requires a physician’s report addressing the issue of permanent disability to include an apportionment determination in order for the report to be considered complete on that issue. Existing law exempts certain injuries, including the above-described injuries, from the provisions requiring apportionment.
This bill would define “injury,” for certain state and local firefighting personnel, peace officers, certain hospital employees, and certain fire and rescue services coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services to include being exposed to or contracting, on or after January 1, 2020, a communicable disease, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), that is the subject of a state or local declaration of a state of emergency that is issued on or after January 1, 2020. The bill would create a conclusive presumption, as specified, that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment. The bill would apply to injuries that occurred prior to the declaration of the state of emergency. The bill would also exempt these provisions from the apportionment requirements.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 3212.18 is added to the Labor Code, immediately following Section 3212.15, to read:

3212.18.
 (a) This section applies to all of the following:
(1) Active firefighting members, whether volunteers, partly paid, or fully paid, of all of the following fire departments:
(A) A fire department of a city, county, city and county, district, or other public or municipal corporation or political subdivision.
(B) A fire department of the University of California and the California State University.
(C) The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
(D) A county forestry or firefighting department or unit.
(2) Peace officers, as defined in Section 830 of the Penal Code.
(3) Health care employees who provide direct patient care in an acute care hospital, as defined in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) (A) Fire and rescue services coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, “fire and rescue services coordinators” means coordinators who are in any of the following job classifications: coordinator, senior coordinator, or chief coordinator.
(b) In the case of a person described in subdivision (a), the term “injury,” as used in this division, includes direction to enter into quarantine by a licensed health care professional, a public health officer or agency, or the employer as a result of, or exposure to or contraction of, a communicable disease, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), that occurs on or after January 1, 2020, and that is the subject of a state or local declaration of a state of emergency that is issued on or after January 1, 2020. For purposes of this section, the injury may occur prior to the declaration of a state of emergency.
(c) For an injury described in subdivision (b), the compensation shall include includes all of the following:
(1) Full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits, as provided by this division.
(2) (A) Reasonable costs of reimbursement to the employee for all of the following:
(i) Emergency equipment or personal protective equipment (PPE) that provides, or is ancillary to other emergency equipment or PPE that provides, protection from the injury for the person.
(ii) Emergency equipment or PPE that provides, or is ancillary to other emergency equipment or PPE that provides, protection for other persons from transmission of the injury by the person.
(iii) Reasonable medical expenses relating to protection from or treatment of the injury and, in addition, reasonable living expenses, other than temporary housing costs, that exceeded the living expenses usually incurred by the person and that were incurred as a direct result of the injury.
(B) An employee is not required to have been directed to enter quarantine in order to be eligible for reimbursement of the expenses described in clause (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (A).
(3) (A) Temporary housing costs, under the circumstances described in subparagraph (B), incurred by an employee in the scope of performing duties relating to the declaration of a state of emergency, as described in subdivision (b), or for the purpose of protecting others from being exposed to or contracting the communicable disease.
(B) An employee shall be reimbursed for reasonable temporary housing costs if the employee is ordered by the employer or is advised by a licensed physician to enter into or remain in quarantine in temporary housing because the employee was exposed to or shows symptoms of the communicable disease, or because the employee would place other persons at risk of being exposed to or contracting the communicable disease if the employee remained in the employee’s principal place of residence.
(d) The injury so developing or manifesting itself in these cases shall be conclusively presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment. This presumption shall be extended to a person described in subdivision (a) following termination of service for a period of 90 days, commencing with the last date actually worked in the specified capacity.
(e) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to fully compensate the peace officers, firefighters, and health care employees whose lives are placed at risk when they are exposed to or contract COVID-19 or other communicable diseases in the course of performing their duties. To that end, the Legislature finds and declares that whenever a state or local state of emergency, as described in subdivision (b), is declared, both of the following policies and goals should be implemented:
(A) Funding necessary to implement this section should be prioritized over other funding authorized for purposes of addressing the state of emergency.
(B) An employee who is eligible for compensation pursuant to this section should be reimbursed as described in this section and should not be required to use the employee’s accrued vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, sick leave, or any other leave, other than applicable benefits made available pursuant to this division, in order to be reimbursed.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to strongly encourage the development and implementation of the policies and goals described in paragraph (1) in order to effectuate the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4663 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

4663.
 (a) Apportionment of permanent disability shall be based on causation.
(b) A physician who prepares a report addressing the issue of permanent disability due to a claimed industrial injury shall address in that report the issue of causation of the permanent disability.
(c) In order for a physician’s report to be considered complete on the issue of permanent disability, the report must include an apportionment determination. A physician shall make an apportionment determination by finding what approximate percentage of the permanent disability was caused by the direct result of injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment and what approximate percentage of the permanent disability was caused by other factors both before and subsequent to the industrial injury, including prior industrial injuries. If the physician is unable to include an apportionment determination in the physician’s report, the physician shall state the specific reasons why the physician could not make a determination of the effect of that prior condition on the permanent disability arising from the injury. The physician shall then consult with other physicians or refer the employee to another physician from whom the employee is authorized to seek treatment or evaluation in accordance with this division in order to make the final determination.
(d) An employee who claims an industrial injury shall, upon request, disclose all previous permanent disabilities or physical impairments.
(e) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) do not apply to injuries or illnesses covered under Sections 3212, 3212.1, 3212.18, 3212.2, 3212.3, 3212.4, 3212.5, 3212.6, 3212.7, 3212.8, 3212.85, 3212.9, 3212.10, 3212.11, 3212.12, 3213, and 3213.2.

SEC. 3.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In light of the Governor’s declaration on March 4, 2020, of a state of emergency due to the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and because firefighters, peace officers, health care workers, and fire and rescue services coordinators who provide vital services during the state of emergency are at heightened risk for exposure to and death from COVID-19, in order to ensure that these persons are properly reimbursed for their out-of-pocket costs for the purchase of personal protective equipment, medical and living expenses, and temporary housing as soon as possible, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.