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Health News Florida

First Responder PTSD Bill Gets Hearing This Week

First responders who get post-traumatic stress disorder on the job may soon be eligible for more workers compensation benefits.
First responders who get post-traumatic stress disorder on the job may soon be eligible for more workers compensation benefits.

A bill to expand workers’ compensation coverage to first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder is getting a hearing Tuesday in Tallahassee. The Senate’s banking and insurance committee will take up one of two bills filed. Florida first responders can get medical benefits for PTSD but aren’t eligible for other benefits like lost wages.

Geoff Bichler, an attorney representing first responders with PTSD said the bill is too restrictive.

“Most of our first responders never witness a murder, child death or suicide,” Bichler said. “They show up in the aftermath. So the ‘witness’ language is really restrictive. There’s also a requirement that treatment be sought within 15 days of an event. And a lot of times, PTSD doesn’t become an issue for years.”

A similar bill failed last year, and lobbyists for local governments worry the expanded coverage will be too expensive.

Copyright 2017 Health News Florida