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Avoid improper mental health disclosures, avoid penalties in Washington

By Flynn Burke and Shawna Fruin - on: Aug 27, 2021
A recent change in Washington law aimed at protecting mental health records provides for the imposition of stiff penalties on employers that run afoul of confidentiality safeguards. Washington has long required that workers’ compensation claim files and records be kept confidential.  See RCW 51.28.070.  Of course, employers or their authorized representatives (i.e., claims examiners, third-party…

New COVID-related notice requirements: What Washington employers need to know

By Shawna Fruin - on: Aug 06, 2021
In addition to the Washington occupational disease presumptions addressed in our prior Health Emergency Labor Standards (“HELSA”) blog here, the new statutes also mandate that employers give one-day notice to employees and the Department of Labor and Industries, if there are workplace exposures related to a public health emergency such as COVID-19. These rules went…

Survivor benefits and HELSA in Washington

By Alysha Van Zante and Casondra Albrecht - on: Aug 03, 2021
The Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (“HELSA”)[1] applies to a litany of listed frontline workers, changes the exposure standard to establish an occupational disease, and more. Novel legal issues are arising as HELSA is being implemented. Which benefits are owed when you learn a frontline worker (as defined by HELSA) has died due to COVID-19?…

Are you getting the most from your IMEs?

By Sara Wong and Mary Hannon - on: May 26, 2021
An independent medical examination (IME) is a valuable tool to set your claim up for success. However, like all tools, the ultimate value of an IME will depend on how you use it. To get the most value out of an IME, it is important to think critically about: (1) the specialty of the IME…

Two new COVID-19 presumption laws enacted in Washington

By Myla Sepulveda - on: May 14, 2021
New legislation affecting healthcare and frontline workers sets forth a different exposure standard for each affected group to establish an occupational disease presumption. In response to the global pandemic, the Washington State legislature recently passed SB 5115 (“Health Emergency Labor Standards,” or “HELSA,” for short) and SB 5190 (“Providing health care workers with presumptive benefits…

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