CAAA BILL TO CURB GENDER BIAS IN WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE VETOED: NURSES DESERVE PROTECTION FROM MRSA INFECTION - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 30, 2014 - The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA), whose members represent Californians hurt at work, and the California Nurses Association’s (C.N.A.) measure to eliminate gender bias against female first responders in California workers’ compensation insurance was vetoed by Governor Brown. AB 2616 (Skinner) was the first measure passed by the Legislature to extend any of the fifteen existing presumptions that male first responders enjoy to first responder occupations dominated by women....           

 
 
 

CAAA and C.N.A. Bill to Curb Gender Bias in Workers’ Compensation Insurance Passes Legislature: Nurses Deserve Protection from MRSA Infections - Groundbreaking Measure Gives Female First Responders Equal Protection - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 22, 2014 - SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA), whose members represent Californians hurt at work, and the California Nurses Association’s (C.N.A.) measure to eliminate gender bias against female first responders in California workers’ compensation insurance passed the Assembly today by a vote of 46 - 23. AB 2616 goes now to the governor for action. ....


Click here for more updates on AB 2616


 

AB 2616 (Skinner)

Background

California’s workers compensation system recognizes that some jobs are so inherently dangerous that those workers should not have to prove that their injuries were job related. In particular, first responders like firefighters and police officers who are required to protect the public are presumed to be injured on the job when they get cancer or an infectious disease. The public policy behind this is that because first responders are required to perform their duties in emergency circumstances, they cannot take the precautions other workers can to avoid exposure. Because it is their duty to assume great risk, it is the government’s duty to protect them when something befalls them.

There is one group of first responders who do not receive this protection from dangerous conditions. These are hospital employees who, like police officers and firefighters, are routinely exposed to conditions that can lead to major health problems. Nurses and other hospital employees also are required to assume great risk but unlike public safety officers they are not given the same legal protections when they get sick on the job.

 

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In part, this is due to gender inequity. Public safety first responders are a predominantly male workforce but hospital employees are a predominantly female workforce. The Labor Code currently provides 15 categories of presumptions for various first responders and all of them are for male dominated workforces. There is not one presumption for first responders like nurses which is primarily a female workforce. AB 2616 is intends to correct this gender imbalance by extending part of one of the fifteen exemptions that men enjoy – for MRSA skin infections which are a major health problem in hospitals around the world.  
 

Opponent's Arguments

Hospitals are sanitized and there is no evidence that MRSA is a major problem – One out of every six deaths in the US can be attributed to an infection acquired in a hospital.

AB 2616 will open the door to presumptions for the private employment market – The issue isn’t whether the worker is public or private. The issue is whether the worker is a first responder who has a duty to perform their duties in an emergency.

There is no evidence that nurses are being denied comp – Applicant attorneys report that female workers are often forced to testify to personal details of their lives in an effort to deny claims. As female workers experience this it has a chilling effect on the willingness of other female workers to come forth with their claims.

RESPONSES to DEPARTMENT of FINANCE LETTER

DOF argues that adding a presumption will lead to unknown but potentially significant increase costs. But the University of California says it approves 97 percent of all MRSA claims so in reality the costs are known and they are not significant.

DOF argues that there is no proof that MRSA claims are being denied but both CNA and CAAA are aware that denials are common and often result in significant litigation to prove claims. AB 2616 will reduce frictional costs associated with proving MRSA claims which DOF acknowledges are approved overwhelmingly. AB 2616 does not change what benefits are awarded once a claim is accepted and employers, including the state, can continue to manage claim benefits under current law.

DOF argues that AB 2616 will encourage other workers to pursue presumptions. AB 2616 and existing law, however, are limited to first responders and this segment of the economy is relatively small and well-defined. 

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AB 2616 passes the Assembly
08/22/2014 - AB 2616, the MRSA presumption bill for hospital employees is headed to the Governor after the Assembly concurred in Senate amendments. The vote was 46-23. This is the first workers' compensation presumption bill for a female dominated workforce to ever pass the Legislature.

Assemblymember Skinner deserves credit for doggedly pursuing this bill year after year and finally succeeding in her final year. Thanks must also go to CNA for making this a priority. Without the hard work of CNA's lobbyists Deanna Johnston, Christy Bouma and Meagan Brightwell we would not have passed the bill. And thanks to all the CAAA members, the CAAA Women's Caucus and especially the CAAA staff who contributed to our lobbying efforts.


Senate PASSES HOSPITAL MRSA PRESUMPTION BILL
August 20, 2014 - AB 2616 (Skinner) just passed the Senate on a 24-9 vote. It is the first time that a presumption bill for a predominantly female workforce has passed the state Senate. Thanks to the combined efforts of CAAA and CNA. Great job by all those who came to Sacramento for our three Lobby days. It made a big difference. Onto the Assembly for one final vote. 


I’m an R.N. in an Intensive Care Unit. I got a MRSA infection at work and Sedgwick denied my claim. They claimed I got MRSA from my dog! Nurses care for patients, risking our own health. We deserve protections for work injuries, so we can worry about the patient and not fear our injuries will be denied.... To see her story click here: UR Denied Story Kathryn Donahue.

AB 2616 would give female-dominated first responders the same protection against MRSA infections that male-dominated first responders already have. This case proves that insurers deny nurses' MRSA claims simply by making up wild excuses. Her own dog gave her MRSA? Please.

AB 2616 will be taken up by the State Senate today or tomorrow.


As of August 14, 2014 AB 2616 has been passed by the senate.  A special thanks to all of our dedicated CAAA volunteers and partners with the California Nurses Association.  A very special thanks to Senator de Leon.



CAAA and California Nurses Association (C.N.A.) Fight Gender Bias in Workers’ Compensation Insurance:
Nurses Deserve Protection from MRSA Infections - W
hy are Female First Responders the only Ones without Protection?  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 
SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA), whose members represent Californians hurt at work, today joined the California Nurses Association (C.N.A.) in calling for elimination of gender bias against female first responders in California workers compensation insurance through passage of AB 2616 (Skinner). “California recognizes that some jobs are so inherently dangerous that those workers should not have to prove that certain injuries were job related,” said CAAA Women’s Caucus Co-Chair Christel Schoenfelder. “First responders like ...

 


CAAA and California Nurses Association (C.N.A.) to Fight Gender Bias in Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Nurses Deserve Protection from MRSA Infections

Why are Female First Responders the Only Ones without Protection?

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Assembly Passes Hospital MRSA Presumption Bill

June 2, 2014 - The California Assembly approved AB 2616 (Skinner) this week on a 48-26 vote. The bill would create the first presumption in the history of the California workers' compensation system for a female dominated workforce, hospital employees with direct patient contact. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Nurses Association and the California Applicant Attorney's Association and supported by many labor groups.