January 22, 2021 Article

Maine Workers' Comp Alert: WCB Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Reporting and Related Requirements

Maine Workers' Comp Alert

The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board has updated its COVID-19 FAQ with current guidance and reporting requirements. Although the information offered is not legal advice and is not judicially enforceable, it is helpful direction in this ever-changing area of the law.

As a preliminary matter, the WCB notes that adverse reactions to vaccinations for COVID-19 might be considered work-related even if the employer does not specifically require its employees to be vaccinated. Even if an employer does not think an adverse reaction should be covered by workers’ compensation, “The filing of a First Report of Injury with the Workers’ Compensation Board indicates that an employer has some knowledge that an event related to work might have caused an employee to lose at least one day of work. Filing a First Report of Injury does not indicate the employer agrees the injury should be covered as a compensable injury under the Workers’ Compensation Act.”

The following are some helpful questions and answers from the FAQ:

Do I have to file a First Report of Injury if an employee has an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine?

Answer: If an employer knows or has some knowledge either from the employee or from the circumstances that a COVID-19 vaccination that relates to an employee’s job causes the employee to miss one or more days of work, a First Report of Injury must be filed with the WCB.

How should an insurer report a case involving an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine to the Board through EDI?

Answer: When submitting a First Report of Injury:

  • Nature of Injury Code (DN0035) should only be populated with code 83 (COVID-19) to report COVID exposures, COVID quarantine, or a positive COVID test result. All other injuries involving COVID-19, including adverse reactions to a vaccine, should be coded in accordance with the remaining nature of injury codes based on the claimed injury/illness.
  • Cause of Injury Code (DN0037) should be populated with code 83 (pandemic) for all injuries/illnesses involving or related to COVID-19 including adverse reactions to a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Please be sure to include descriptive comments for all First Reports of Injury sent to the Board, e.g. “Claimant experienced a negative reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination."

The WCB periodically updates their guidance FAQ, which can be found here. We will continue to monitor this issue and provide insight as it develops.