I certainly hope the Ebola virus does not spread any more than it already has but what if it does? What happens to all of those dedicated healthcare workers who are exposed to and could possibly contract this horrible sickness? The way the current workers compensation laws in Virginia are written, healthcare workers who come into contact with this nasty virus may not be covered if they are infected. Currently, if you are exposed to a virus (Aids, HIV, Hepatitis, or even Ebola) and you can PROVE the exposure came from work you can be covered but PROVING where and when the exposure happened can be extremely hard. If you can’t prove you were exposed at work, the workers compensation insurance carrier could argue that you picked up the virus somewhere else (a friend or neighbor or maybe you came into contact with an infected person at the grocery store or at the airport).
So how do you show when and where exposure took place? DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT and DOCUMENT some more! Document when, where, and the type of contact you had with the infected patient or sample.
Make notes on the instructions you were given by the healthcare authorities at the facility and what protective gear you were supplied with (did it fit? Was it damaged? Did you have skin exposed?). Take notes and update them every time you interact with someone who is infected, or may be infected, and do the same for any lab work or tissue samples that could be infected. You can never be too careful dealing with such a deadly outbreak and I want to educate folks NOW on how to help themselves if this virus continues to be a threat to our society.
The only thing that could be worse than an Ebola diagnosis would be getting an Ebola diagnosis after performing a public service and then having your workers compensation claim denied. I don’t want to see this happen to anyone! Please protect yourself folks!
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.