BILL NUMBER: AB 375	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Skinner

                        FEBRUARY 14, 2011

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


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 375, as introduced, Skinner. Hospital employees: 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, human immunodeficiency virus, 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 a bloodborne infectious disease, neck or back
impairment, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
that develops or manifests itself during the period of the person's
employment with the hospital.
   This bill would further create a rebuttable presumption that the
above injury arises out of and in the course of the person's
employment if it develops or manifests as specified.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated 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 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 work force.
   (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) In 2008, nearly two-thirds of nurses reported needlestick and
other percutaneous injuries and studies show that injuries have
increased 6.5 percent in surgical settings.
   (e) 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.
   (f) According to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and
Development, in 2007 there were 52,000 cases of MRSA-infected
patients at hospitals across the state.
   (g) Each year thousands of nurses, nursing aides, and health care
workers sustain musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from manual lifting
of patients and residents. These injuries leave 50 percent or more
working in chronic pain and at least 12 percent leave the profession,
many with permanent disabling injuries.
   (h) In 2007, direct-care registered nurses ranked seventh among
all occupations for the number of cases of MSDs resulting in days
away from work in the United States. Furthermore, the rate of MSDs in
health care workers exceeds that of workers in construction, mining,
and manufacturing.
   (i) Public safety employees, such as police officers and
firefighters, already have guaranteed access to the workers'
compensation system for MRSA, 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.
   (j) Due to the rise in work-related illnesses and injuries,
including MSD, MRSA, and other bloodborne diseases, 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 a bloodborne infectious disease, neck or back
impairment, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
that 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) The bloodborne infectious disease, neck or back
impairment, or MRSA so developing or manifesting 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 so controverted, the appeals board shall so find.
   (2) The bloodborne infectious disease presumption shall be
extended to a hospital employee following termination of service for
a period of 180 days, commencing with the last date actually worked.
   (3) The neck or back impairment, and MRSA presumptions shall be
extended to a hospital employee following termination of service for
a period of 90 days, commencing with the last day actually worked.
   (c) A bloodborne infectious disease so developing or manifesting
itself in these cases shall not be attributed to any disease existing
prior to that development or manifestation.