Bill to Help Nurses Who Caught COVID-19 Clears House

A bill that would clear a path for nurses who contracted COVID-19 to receive Workers’ Compensation coverage (where available) won final passage today in the Texas House.

HB 396 by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, now moves to the Senate after a 116-24 vote. The measure applies to nurses who have access to Workers’ Compensation. It establishes a presumption that nurses who contracted COVID-19 did so on the job, so long they can show they had contact with a COVID-19 patient before the illness and did not decline to be vaccinated. A House amendment to the bill allows nurses who were denied coverage on or after Feb. 1, 2020, to ask an insurer to reprocess the claim under the bill’s rules.

Separate pending legislation would establish a presumption that  COVID-19 was the result of the work of First Responders and Correctional Officers.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, Texas has celebrated the work of First Responders and essential workers, which surely includes nurses,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. “HB 396 is the least we can do to recognize the heroism of nurses who put their health and lives on the line to treat Texans who suffered through COVID-19. Without this bill, proving that a case of COVID-19 is job-related would be a daunting if not impossible task. Nurses have richly earned the presumption in this bill.”

“We thank National Nurses United for amazing work on the concept and details of this bill. We salute Rep. Moody for moving this novel legislation forward and the House members who supported the bill, and we ask the Senate to act swiftly to send HB 396 to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.”