If you are a Florida Firefighter, Law Enforcement Officer, Corrections Officer or Probation Officer with hypertension or heart disease, you could be entitled to medical and monetary benefits under the Heart/Lung Bill found in Section 112.18(1), Florida Statues. This is also commonly referred to as the “Heart Bill” or “Presumption”.
The Heart/Lung Bill covers hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease. “Heart disease” is a very broad term that includes heart attacks, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs), endocarditis, and more. The Heart/Lung Bill also covers tuberculosis. No other pulmonary conditions are covered by this law.
In order to be eligible for benefits under the Heart Bill, the following requirements must be met:
- You must have had a pre-employment physical before you started working with your current employer that did not show any evidence of hypertension or heart disease.
- You must have been diagnosed with hypertension or some form of heart disease.
- You must have suffered a “disability” as a result of hypertension or heart disease. This means that your hypertension or heart disease must have precluded you from being able to perform your job duties. You do not have to be on duty to sustain a “disability” under the Heart Bill. Also, even a few missed hours from work, an ER visit or being removed from duty or a training procedure may be considered a “disability” under the Heart Bill. Most cases turn on this disability issue.
If the above requirements are met, the only way an Employer may rebut the presumption that your hypertension or heart disease is work-related is by presenting evidence of a non-work-related cause.
Once you meet the requirements of the Heart Bill, your Employer must provide you with cardiac care and treatment, medications, payment for lost wages, monetary impairment benefits and medical mileage. Depending on the nature and severity of your condition, more benefits may be available. These benefits are provided through your Employer’s workers’ compensation program.
The Heart/Lung Bill is very complex, and Employers do not educate their employees of the requirements and benefits of the law. If you have hypertension or heart disease, call, email or fill out the form below for a free case evaluation.