Saturday, January 09, 2010

Nevada Supreme Court Denies Insurance to Smoker

Could this be the start of a trend?
The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday upheld a ruling that a Las Vegas police officer was not entitled to coverage for heart disease.

Under state law, a police officer continuously employed for more than five years is entitled to the presumption that any heart disease is work related. Patricia Guesman, however, was denied coverage by both the hearing officer and a district judge.

The Supreme Court noted coverage is not automatic if “after the police officer's annual medical exam, the examining physician ordered her in writing to correct a predisposing condition that was within her ability to correct and the officer failed to do so.”

The three-justice panel of Ron Parraguirre, Michael Douglas and Kris Pickering pointed out that smoking is a predisposing condition to heart disease. Guesman was warned to stop smoking but failed to do so.
So I guess when the Nevada state's finest develops any form of heart disease (i.e., critical aortic stenosis not typically associated with smoking) and treatment is required, the cost burden will shift from the state to the federal government.


Gee, I wonder why they didn't exclude treatments for oral and bladder cancers, too?


PS: All this while Nevada works to ease up on its smoking ban.


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

Maybe this will send a message to the other smokers on the force that smoking is bad for you, and they should quit. What a radical idea.

Polititians in the first place should not be deciding by decree if a disease is or is not work related. Physicians are in a better position to decide that.


DrWes said...


Oh, it sends a message alright.

And it's only a small stretch to use this ruling as precedent for other conditions.

For instance, if I were morbidly obese, I'd be very, very afraid of the Nevada Supreme court's next rulings...

Anonymous said...

I read this with a bit of a different spin. I'm thinking that the person is trying to claim some type of disability on the basis that their job caused heart disease. Not clear in the article, but given 21 years of employment, it would not be out of the realm of possibilities.
If it is a disability claim, then I support their decision fully.