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TITLE 27 – LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
CHAPTER 14 – WORKER’S COMPENSATION
CHAPTER 15 PRESUMPTIVE DISABILITY FOR CERTAIN DISEASES
(J) Any mental injury unless it is:
(I) Caused by a compensable physical injury, it occurs subsequent to or simultaneously with, the physical injury and it is established by clear and convincing evidence, which shall include a diagnosis by a
licensed psychiatrist, licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner meeting criteria established in the most recent edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. In no event shall benefits for a compensable mental injury under this subdivision be paid for more than thirty-six (36) months after an injured employee’s physical injury has healed to the point that it is not reasonably expected to substantially improve; or
(II) Experienced by a first responder and established by clear and convincing evidence, which shall include a diagnosis by a licensed psychiatrist, licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner meeting criteria established in the most recent edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. The mental injury shall not be considered a compensable injury if the mental injury is directly attributed to disciplinary action, work evaluation, job transfer, layoff, demotion, termination or similar action taken by an employer. In no event shall any disability benefit for a compensable mental injury under this subdivision extend more than thirty-six (36) months beyond the diagnosis of a compensable injury.
(xxxi) “First responder” means a peace officer or an employee who is employed or volunteers as a firefighter, search and rescue personnel or ambulance personnel.
(a) As used in this act:
(i) “Firefighter” means a paid fireman defined under W.S. 15-5-201(a)(xi), a firefighter member under W.S. 9-3-402(a)(xxv), an employee under W.S. 15-5-402(a)(viii), a volunteer fireman defined under W.S. 15-5-201(a)(xiv) and a volunteer firefighter or firefighter defined under W.S. 35-9-616(a)(x). “Firefighter” also means an individual employed by a municipal corporation or private organization who devotes the individual’s entire time of employment to the provision of fire protection service for a city, town, county or fire protection district;
(ii) “Listed disease” means any of the following:
(A) Cancer, lymphoma or leukemia that may be caused by exposure to heat, smoke, radiation or a known or suspected carcinogen as determined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer;
(B) Cardiovascular disease;
(C) Acute myocardial infarction or stroke;
(D) A disease, illness, health impairment or disability determined on a case-by-case basis under W.S. 27-15-102(h);
(E) Any other disease, illness, health impairment or disability as the Wyoming workers compensation medical commission prescribes by rule after verifiable research determines a dominant cause of the disease, illness, health impairment or disability is or was employment as a firefighter.
(iii) “Minimum period of employment” means:
(A) Employment as a firefighter for at least ten (10) years; and
(B) For volunteer firefighters, an individual is considered to have been employed for the
minimum period of employment if that individual while actively a volunteer participates or participated in a minimum of forty percent (40%) of the drills conducted by the individual’s department and a minimum of twenty-five percent (25%) of the emergency calls received during the time the volunteer serves or served on call. Volunteer firefighter departments shall keep individual records that document the criteria in this subparagraph.
(iv) “This act” means W.S. 27-15-101 through 10 27-15-103.
27-15-102. Presumption of occupational disability; applicability; exceptions.
(a) A firefighter who suffers from a listed disease is presumed to have developed that listed disease during the course and scope of employment. The listed disease is presumed to be an occupational disease, the dominant cause of which is the employment as a firefighter, unless the contrary is proven.
(b) A presumption established under this act applies to a determination of whether a firefighter’s injury, disease, illness, health impairment, disability or death resulted from a listed disease contracted in the course and scope of employment for purposes of benefits or compensation provided under:
(i) Firefighter retirement and disability retirement plans administered by the Wyoming retirement board under W.S. 9-3-401 through 9-3-431, 15-5-201 through 15-5-209, 15-5-401 through 15-5-422 and 35-9-616 through 35-9-628;
(ii) Workers’ compensation benefits paid by or on behalf of an employer to an employee under the provisions of W.S. 27-14-101 through 27-14-806;
(iii) University of Wyoming and Wyoming community college tuition and fees as provided under W.S. 21-16-1501(h) and (j).
(c) The presumption in subsection (a) of this section applies only to a firefighter who:
(i) Is employed for not less than the minimum 2 period of employment and seeks the presumption within ten (10) years after cessation of employment;
(ii) Has been exposed to the hazards involved in firefighting during the minimum period of employment; and
(iii) On becoming employed or during employment as a firefighter received a physical examination that failed to reveal evidence of the listed disease for which the presumption is sought.
(d) The presumption in subsection (a) of this section does not apply:
(i) If the listed disease is known to be caused by smoking tobacco and the firefighter:
(A) Is a regular user of tobacco for ten 20 (10) or more years; or
(B) Was a regular user of tobacco for ten (10) or more years and it has been fewer than ten (10) years since the firefighter gave up the use of tobacco products.
(ii) In a cause of action brought in a state or federal court except for judicial review of a proceeding in which there has been a grant or denial of employment-related benefits or compensation.
(e) This act does not create a cause of action.
(f) This act does not enlarge or establish a right to any benefit or compensation or eligibility for any benefit or compensation.
(g) A firefighter who qualifies for a presumption established under this act is entitled only to the benefits or compensation to which the firefighter would otherwise be entitled to receive at the time the claim for benefits or compensation is filed.
(h) A presumption under this act is not limited to the current listed diseases. A firefighter is not precluded from a case-by-case demonstration before the Wyoming workers’ compensation medical commission that the dominant cause of the firefighter’s disease, illness, health impairment or disability is or was employment as a firefighter.
(j) Paragraph (d)(i) of this section only prevents the application of the presumption authorized by this chapter and does not affect the right of a firefighter to provide proof, without the use of the presumption, that an injury, disease, illness, health impairment or disability occurred during the course and scope of employment. A person opposed to the award of benefits or compensation listed under W.S. 27-15-102(b) may rebut the presumption under this act through a showing by a clear and convincing evidence that a risk factor, accident, hazard or other cause not associated with the firefighter’s service was the dominant cause of the listed disease.
Section 3. This act is effective July 1, 2017.