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  • Colorado Firefighter LOD Heart and Circulatory Malfunction Benefits Bill takes Effect January 1, 2015
    Updated On: Dec 31, 2014

    Colorado Firefighter LOD Heart and Circulatory Malfunction Benefits Bill takes Effect January 1, 2015

                The CPFF is proud to announce that Senate Bill 14-172 will become a reality after more than a year of planning, hard work, collaboration, and months of lobbying at the state capitol.

    On Thursday June 5th, 2014 Governor Hickenlooper signed into law Senate Bill 14-172.  The CPFF Legislative team identified line of duty heart attack issues as our number one legislative priority for the 2014 session.  This is not a presumptive workers comp coverage it is an insurance policy coverage that covers a heart attack for all paid full time fire fighters as a line of duty injury while on duty or within 48hrs of a work event.  Under this legislation, the cost of this premium is paid for out of the state of Colorado general fund.  The CPFF lobbing team formed a coalition with the Colorado State Fire Chiefs and the Special District Association of Colorado to develop and lobby for votes to secure this important benefit.

    Every full time firefighter in Colorado with a minimum of 5 years of full time service with an employer will be covered by this legislation.  All covered firefighters can still file a workers comp claim, as this coverage does not take away that right.  For the purpose of employer policies and benefits, a heart and circulatory malfunction is treated as an on-the-job injury or illness.  The CPFF has been involved with steering committee meetings as well as having a seat on the trust that was formed as authorized by the legislation.  Employers must maintain accident insurance, self insure, or participate in a self-insurance pool or multiple employer health trust.  The trust was formed to insure compliance with the law and to insure reimbursement funding from DOLA.

    Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Heart and Circulatory Benefit

    Senate Bill 14-172 Overview

    Beginning January 1,2015, Senate Bill 14-172 requires any municipality, special district, fire authority, or county improvement district (employer) employing one or more firefighters to provide benefits for heart or circulatory malfunctions for full-time firefighters, as long as the state provides sufficient funding to cover the cost. The employer may purchase accident insurance, self-insure, or participate in a self –insurance pool, or multi-employer health trust.  Employers may also provide similar insurance for volunteer firefighters.

    The maximum amount that can be paid to a firefighter as a result of a heart or circulatory malfunction is $250,000. Eligible firefighters who smoke a tobacco product within five years preceding the work event will have their benefit reduced by 25 percent.

    In order to receive benefits a firefighter must:

    • Have a medical examination that found no heart or circulatory malfunction present at the most recent medical exam.
    • Be employed for at least five continuous years as a firefighter, except for a volunteer firefighter that must have five continuous service with the same employer; and
    • Had experienced the heart and circulatory malfunction within 48 hours of a stressful or strenuous work event.

    Minimum Required Benefits Under SB 14-172

    Scenario

    Benefit

    Medical exam reveals a firefighter has a heart and circulatory malfunction

    $4,000 lump sum

    Firefighter makes an emergency room visit and is hospitalized for up to 48 hours for a heart and circulatory malfunction

    $1500 per week, up to 7 weeks

    Firefighter makes an emergency room visit and is hospitalized for more than 48 hours for a heart and circulatory malfunction

    $2,000 per week, up to 25 weeks

    Firefighter has a heart and circulatory malfunction prohibiting the firefighter from returning to employment

    $2,500 per week, up to 80 weeks

    Firefighter requires rehabilitative employment services for heart and circulatory malfunction

    Up to $25,000 for services

    Firefighter incurs cosmetic disfigurement from a heart and circulatory malfunction

    $10,000 lump sum

    Medical exam reveals a firefighter has a terminal heart and circulatory malfunction

    Up to $25,000 lump sum payment

    Payments are offset by any payments made by workers compensation, FPPA, or any other retirement plan.

    29-5-302. (10) For the purpose of employer policies and benefits, a heart and circulatory malfunction is treated as an on-the-job injury or illness.  This subsection (10) does not affect any determination as to whether the heart and circulatory malfunction is covered under the “Workers Compensation Act of Colorado”, articles 40 to 47 of Title 8, C.R.S.

    An appropriation of $850,350 has been made to DOLA from the State General Fund.

    The stake holder’s coalition has determined that the creation of a Multiple Employer Health Trust may be the best option. Some cities have chosen to self-insure.

    See attached bill for the specific language.


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