Insurance Company Creates Guidelines for Workers Comp Coverage of Ebola Illness
On Wednesday, December 17th, GENEX Services LLC, a workers comp insurance company, published a list of guidelines for workers comp coverage of claimants who contract Ebola during the course of their employment.
The guidelines, titled “Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses: Ebola and Marburg,” go beyond the standard clinical directives offered by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control.
“GENEX developed the guidelines at the requests of both internal and external providers and nurse case managers looking for workers’ comp-specific treatment protocols to treat Ebola,” said Dr. Maury Guzick, GENEX branch manager and physician advisor.
“In the workers’ comp field, there are significant risks to healthcare workers, emergency responders, laboratory and airline staff, among others,” said Guzick. “These workers are more likely to come into contact with an infected person or their bodily fluids. With so many workers at risk, it’s critical that guidelines are developed and made available to help treat infected workers and prevent the spread of diseases such as Ebola and Marburg throughout the U.S. workforce.”
“All of those various areas are looked at from the focus of the injured worker. What can they expect, what can their employers expect, what can we expect from the medical field, and what needs to be done to give the best experience?” Dr. Guzick added.
The guidelines come as more people outside of Africa have contracted the deadly hemorrhagic fever. An analysis in October this year, when a second nurse in the United States was diagnosed with Ebola, stated that “even in the unlikely event that the Ebola virus spreads to infect tens of thousands of adults in the United States, the financial impact will likely be quite manageable.”
“As with life insurance coverage, reinsurance will help mitigate the financial effect of a surge in claims, which are likely to be very costly in the event of actual work-related infections,” the report said.
In order for a workers comp claim involving Ebola to be considered legitimate, the disease must 1) have been contracted in the scope of employment, and 2) must have been contracted in conditions “peculiar to” the employee’s job. Nurses, doctors, emergency responders, CDC officials, and other types of health care workers could be exposed to Ebola in coming months, which means that they could legitimately file a workers comp claim to cover the costs of their treatment.
Health insurers, life insurers, and workers comp insurers all agreed that a pandemic would be financially devastating for insurance companies. However, health officials and insurance company spokespeople agree that a pandemic is highly unlikely, and other occupational hazards, such as carpal tunnel, construction accident injuries and deaths, and exposure-related cancers are more likely to lead to workers comp claims.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina
The South Carolina workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case.803.252.4800.