During floor debate on Monday, the House of Delegates passed HB 1101, Administration-sponsored legislation to expend the disease-based presumptions offered to employees of fire departments under the state’s workers compensation laws.
In a somewhat surprising move, the House Economic Matters Committee offered floor amendments, which were accepted to expand the bill’s reach to cover both multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkins lynmphoma.
MACo has consistently argued that broad medical presumptions are inappropriate, as they virtually compel the Workers Compensation Commission to declare a disease as compensible (often meaning large settlement amounts) even where there is no evidence of any link to on-the-job exposure. When diseases that are increasingly common among the general population become subject to these presumptions, the fact-finding ability of a compensability hearing is undermined. Further, Maryland laws explicitly prohibit any ability to rebut the presumption — unlike similar laws in most other states, which offer the employer at least an opportunity to argue that the matter.