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FMLA: ‘Serious Health Condition’ Defined

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

The FMLA defines a serious health conditionas an illness, injury impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one of the following:  

Hospital Care: Inpatient (overnight) care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment connected to inpatient care.

Absence Plus Treatment: A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days(including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition) that also involves one of the following:

  • Two or more visits to a health care provider. The first visit must occur within seven days of the first day of the incapacity, and both visits must take place within 30 days of the first day of the incapacity.
  • A regimen of continuing treatment, with the first visit taking place within seven days of the onset of the incapacity.

Pregnancy: Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.

Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatments: A chronic condition that extends over a period of time and requires periodic treatments by a health care provider. “Periodic visits” are defined as at least two visits to a health care provider per year. During that period, the incapacity may be episodic or recurrent rather than continuous. Examples include asthma, epilepsy and diabetes.

Permanent/Long-Term Conditions Requiring Supervision: A permanent or long-term incapacity due to a condition that may not respond to treatment. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider. Examples include Alzheimer’s, a severe stroke and the terminal stages of a disease.

Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions): Any period of absence to recover from or receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery after an accident or injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation), severe arthritis (physical therapy) and kidney disease (dialysis). 




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