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Skin cancer presumption bill clears hurdle


The California State Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved legislation that would extend presumptive coverage for skin cancer to some game wardens and state parks employees.


A.B. 334 would extend a rebuttable skin cancer presumption to peace officers with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The presumption would cover the specified wildlife and parks workers following termination for up to five years, accruing at a rate of three calendar months for each full year of service.


According to a bill analysis, any costs to the two state departments “are expected to be minor and absorbable.”


“There could be minor administrative workload reduction based on the presumption of compensability,” the analysis said. In the past decade, six comp claims for skin cancer from Parks and Recreation workers were denied, according to data from the State Compensation Insurance Fund. The average claim cost was $3,192.


On the same day, appropriations committees on both chambers passed several comp-related bills:


  • S.B. 213 would create a presumption that infectious diseases including COVID-19, cancer, musculoskeletal injuries, respiratory diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder, are compensable for hospital workers. 


  • A.B. 872 would cost the state’s general fund approximately $1 million per year to cover increased benefit payments to CalFire firefighters who are injured and take disability leave, according to a bill analysis.


  • A.B. 872 would allow rank-and-file supervisory firefighters from the Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention whose primary duties include active fire suppression or prevention to receive their full salary in lieu of temporary disability, which is paid at nearly 67% of pre-injury wages. That bill would require one-time administrative staff costs of approximately $100,000, which would be used to alter benefits and train staff on the new requirements, the analysis said. 


  • A.B. 404 would require the state Division of Workers’ Compensation to update the Medical-Legal Fee Schedule every two years. According to an analysis, the updates would result in a “minor and absorbable” fiscal impact.


  • A.B. 1465 would require the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation to conduct a study of delays and access to care issues in medical provider networks and would have a one-time price tag of about $300,000, according to another analysis.


  • S.B. 335 would give employers 30 days to accept claims from first responders for conditions that are presumed compensable under current law, such as heart disease, hernias, pneumonia, cancer and tuberculosis. The bill also would increase the amount of money an employer must immediately authorize for medical treatment while investigating a claim, from $10,000 to $17,000.


  • S.B. 284 would extend a rebuttable presumption for post-traumatic stress disorder claims to employees at the Department of State Hospitals, the Department of Developmental Services and the California Military Department.


  • S.B. 216 would require all licensed contractors — and all contractors applying for licenses — to obtain workers comp coverage by 2025, regardless of how many employees they claim. 


WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.



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