Act 107, SLH 2018 improves access to comprehensive medical coverage for Hawaii’s fire fighters (with five or more years of service as a fire fighter) who are diagnosed with cancer presumed to arise of out and in the course of their employment. The Act requires private health care plans to pay for or provide medical care, services and supplies for those diagnosed with cancer for controverted workers’ compensation claims that are accepted or determined to be compensable. The claims covered under Act 107 include leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or cancer of the lung, brain, stomach, esophagus, intestines, rectum, kidney, bladder, prostate or testes.
As one of the stakeholders within the task force that was convened in 2016 (House Concurrent Resolution 32) to examine the issues and make recommendations based on the Task Force’s findings relating to cancer in the fire fighting profession, the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association (HFFA) Local 1463 worked alongside the other stakeholders to gain cancer presumptive legislation for our BU-11 membership.
HFFA submitted testimony in support of all measures addressing cancer presumption for our members. It was important for us to educate legislators because of their occupation and the incidents they respond to, fire fighters have a higher exposure to contaminants known or suspected to cause cancer.
HFFA sends its Mahalo to Senator Roz Baker and Representative Della Au Belatti for their work as chairs of the 2016 Task Force and as fire fighters’ advocates within the House and Senate to champion this issue forward among their colleagues.
**Hawaii joins 37 other states and nine Canadian provinces that already have cancer presumptive laws that provide their fire fighters with medical and service-connected disability benefits.