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Disability Presumptions--Task Force Report

Disability Presumptions--Task Force Report

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Published by Ken Rudominer
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Published by: Ken Rudominer on Jan 14, 2012
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05/20/2012

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TASK FORCE ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEEDISABILITY PRESUMPTIONS
Report
to
The Governor, Legislature, andChief Financial OfficerJanuary l,20 12
 
TaskForceonPublicEmployeeDisabilityPresumptions
TABLE
OF
CONTENTS
Executive Summary
................................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................................
.
Introduction
8
A
.
Authority and Scope of Review
....................................................................................................................
8
B
.
Meetings and Membership
...........................................................................................................................
8
I1
.
Data collected related to the operations of the statutory disability presumptions and fiscal impact on public
.........................................................................................................................................................
mployers
9
A
.
State of Florida Data
.................................................................................................................................
10
B
.
Municipal Government Data
......................................................................................................................
12
C
.
CountyISheriff Department Data
...............................................................................................................
13
D
.
State Retirement System Data
................................................................................................................
14I11
.
State Comparisons
.........................................................................................................................................
15
A
.
Presumption Laws and Qualifying Provisions
...........................................................................................
15
. .
B
.
Covered Cond~tlons
..................................................................................................................................
16
IV
.
Find'mgs and Recommendations
..................................................................................................................
18
A
.
Evidentiary Standards and Burden of Proof for Overcoming Disability Presumption
..............................
18
1
Legal Issues Which Present Challenges to the Prosecution of Presumption Claims &Proposed StatutoryChanges
......................................................................................................................................................
192
.
Legal Issues Which Present Challenges to the Defense of Presumption Claims
&
Proposed StatutoryChanges
......................................................................................................................................................
21
B
.
General Application of Presumption Laws and Mitigation of Claim Costs (Not involving EvidentiaryStandards or Burden of Proof Issues)
...................................................................................................
24
V
.
Signature Page
.........................................................................................................................................
28
Attachments
.........................................................................................................................................................
29
Final ReportJanuary
1.
2012
Page
2
 
Task
Force
on
Public
EmployeeDisabilityPresumptions
ExecutiveSummary
TheTaskForceonPublicEmployeeDisabilityPresumptionswasestablishedpursuanttoChapter 2011-216,LawsofFlorida,toreviewdatarelatedtotheoperationandfiscalimpactofstatutory disabilitypresumptions,reviewhowotherstateshandledisabilitypresumptions,reviewevidentiary standardsandburdensofproofforovercomingstatutorydisabilitypresumptionsandconsiderrisk factorsandepidemiologicaldata,andprovideitsfindingsandproposalsforchangestoexisting statutorydisabilitypresumptions.TheTaskForcefoundgenerallythatforallgovernmentalentitiesrepresented,theincurredaveragecost perworkers'compensationclaimislowerthantheincurredaveragecostperdisabilitypresumption claim.
In
addition,forallgovernmentalentities,thepercentofincurredcostforpresumptionclaims relativetoallworkers'compensationcostsishigherthanthepercentofthenumberofpresumption claimswhencomparedtoallworkers'compensationclaims. Amongthe50states,35stateshavesomeformofdisabilitypresumptionlaw.Theselawsvaryin coveragetoincludefirefighters,emergencymedicaltechnicians,lawenforcementofficers,and correctionalofficers.In26states,includingFlorida,thepresumptionarisesonlyiftheclaimantpassed apre-employmentphysicalexaminationwhichdidnotrevealthepresenceofthediseaseorcondition forwhichbenefitsareclaimed.
In
20states,notincludingFlorida,presumptioncompensabilityonly arisesafterafirstresponderhasservedinthecoveredoccupationforaspecifiednumberofyears.
In
32states,the lawprovidesforarebuttable,ratherthan
an
absolute,presumption.AscouldbeexpectedgiventhecompositionoftheTaskForcemembers,noconsensuswasreachedon allofthefindingsandrecommendationsmadebytheTaskForce,withtheexceptionthatmembers agreedawellnessprogramcouldhelpreducegrouphealthclaimsandworkers'compensationclaims generally,withthe consequenceofalsoreducingdisabilitypresumptionclaims.
SUMMAFtY
OF
RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendation
1:
Becauseclaimantsmustprovetheircaseinnon-presumptiveclaimsbyclearand convincingevidence,theevidentiarystandardinrebuttingapresumptiveclaimshouldbeclearandconvincing. SupportedbyTaskForceMembers:MichaelClelland,GanyMitchell,JimTolley
Recommendation
2:
"Disability"shouldbedefinedas:theevent ofanemployee'sbecomingactually incapacitated,partiallyortotally,becauseof
an
occupationaldisease,fromperforminghisworkinthelast occupationinwhichinjuriouslyexposedtothehazardsofsuchdisease,
OR
anemployee'sactualimpairment pursuanttothe
1996
FloridaUniformImpairmentRatingScheduleorotherimpairmentguideincorporatedinto theWorkers'CompensationActatthetimeofthedisablement. SupportedbyTaskForceMembers:MichaelClelland,GanyMitchell,JimTolley FinalReport
January
1,2012
Page
3

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