Archive for July, 2010

Senate Bill 2176 – Treatment & Claim Deadlines

Posted in Heart/Lung Bill on July 3, 2010 by leslie@lawyertampa

First let me state that a case was recently published, Martz v. Volusia County Fire Services, which is the first case I have seen that defines atrial fibrillation (AF) as “heart disease”.  AF is covered by the heart/lung bill.

Second, the governor approved Senate Bill 2176, regarding treatment of heart/lung conditions.  In short, compensability may be denied if the worker fails to follow a prescribed course of treatment and the failure to follow treatment results in an aggravation of the heart/lung condition.

Claims must also be filed within 180 days of leaving employment in order for the presumption to apply.  The pertinent text is reproduced below:

 298         (b)1. For any workers’ compensation claim filed under this
  299  section and chapter 440 occurring on or after July 1, 2010, a
  300  law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional
  301  probation officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), or (3)
  302  suffering from tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension is
  303  presumed not to have incurred such disease in the line of duty
  304  as provided in this section if the law enforcement officer,
  305  correctional officer, or correctional probation officer:
  306         a. Departed in a material fashion from the prescribed
  307  course of treatment of his or her personal physician and the
  308  departure is demonstrated to have resulted in a significant
  309  aggravation of the tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension
  310  resulting in disability or increasing the disability or need for
  311  medical treatment; or
  312         b. Was previously compensated pursuant to this section and
  313  chapter 440 for tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension and
  314  thereafter sustains and reports a new compensable workers’
  315  compensation claim under this section and chapter 440, and the
  316  law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional
  317  probation officer has departed in a material fashion from the
  318  prescribed course of treatment of an authorized physician for
  319  the preexisting workers’ compensation claim and the departure is
  320  demonstrated to have resulted in a significant aggravation of
  321  the tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension resulting in
  322  disability or increasing the disability or need for medical
  323  treatment.
  324         2. As used in this paragraph, “prescribed course of
  325  treatment” means prescribed medical courses of action and
  326  prescribed medicines for the specific disease or diseases
  327  claimed and as documented in the prescribing physician’s medical
  328  records.
  329         3. If there is a dispute as to the appropriateness of the
  330  course of treatment prescribed by a physician under sub
  331  subparagraph 1.a. or sub-subparagraph 1.b. or whether a
  332  departure in a material fashion from the prescribed course of
  333  treatment is demonstrated to have resulted in a significant
  334  aggravation of the tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension
  335  resulting in disability or increasing the disability or need for
  336  medical treatment, the law enforcement officer, correctional
  337  officer, or correctional probation officer is entitled to seek
  338  an independent medical examination pursuant to s. 440.13(5).
  339         4. A law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or
  340  correctional probation officer is not entitled to the
  341  presumption provided in this section unless a claim for benefits
  342  is made prior to or within 180 days after leaving the employment
  343  of the employing agency.

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