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Summary: This legislation changes the presumptions relating to acute myocardial infarction or stroke of a firefighter or EMT on duty. And adds exposure to certain infectious diseases to a list of qualifying factors which a Firefighter or EMT is eligible to receive benefits or compensation.
Analysis: In order to file for workmen’s compensation and other benefits and protections following acute myocardial infarction or stroke, it is first presumed that it happened in the line or duty or in the course of strenuous activity or as the result of a hazard encountered in the line of duty. This bill would make firefighters and EMTs who suffer acute myocardial infarction or stroke eligible to file and receive benefits if the (heart attack or stroke) occurred simply while “on duty”. This bill changes the relationship between myocardial infarctions or strokes and their proximate causes. The term “on duty” broadens the circumstances in which benefits may be applied for. The proposed changes to presumptions increases the chances of benefits being applied without sufficient evidence that during the course of stressful duty a heart attack or stroke occurred. The municipality will presumably no longer have to prove direct cause, rather one would now be able to claim proximate cause leading to increased liability costs to the local government.
This legislation is an expansion of a government program possibly heavily increasing the cost to local governments, without a system or test available to distinguish cause and effect.