Two bills were approved that would extend the presumption through the end of this year.
The full House on March 25 approved two bills that would extend the COVID-19 occupational disease presumption for public safety and health care workers.
A 2020 law established that a COVID-19 diagnosis in public safety personnel and other classes of employees, including health care workers, is considered an occupational disease under the state’s workers’ compensation system. The law includes a sunset of May 1, 2021.
Extension to December 2021
The first bill considered by the House, HF 1203 (Rep. Dan Wolgamott, DFL-St. Cloud), initially extended the sunset to May 1, 2022. However, the date was changed to Dec. 31, 2021, during a Ways and Means hearing on March 22. The full House approved the bill on a vote of 102-23.
HF 2253 includes all the recent recommendations of the Workers Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) and has broad, bipartisan support. The House approved the bill, 128-3.
League expresses concerns
When the bills were discussed in a hearing of the WCAC on March 10, The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) submitted written testimony on both bills.
LMCIT did not specifically oppose the extension of the COVID-19 presumption based on the claims experience in the first waves of the pandemic. However, LMCIT stressed that there have been significant costs related to the pandemic and that concerns about the impact of future virus variants could challenge the workers’ compensation system.