Last legislative session bills were introduced in an effort to provide assistance to first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress injury or PTSI. The League believes post-traumatic stress injury is a serious illness that should be addressed from a prevention perspective first and foremost. However, previous bill language would have created an uninsurable workers’ compensation benefit, leading to extremely high insurance premiums and a diversion of local tax dollars.
Senate Bill 365 and House Bill 1632 Summary
Senate Bill 365 and House Bill 1632, introduced by Senator Camera Bartolotta and Representative Jennifer O’Mara, would amend the Workers’ Compensation Law easing first responders’ access to receive a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) benefit if it is established that the injury resulted from a working condition and that it was sustained in the course and scope of the individual’s employment.
Under these bill, injuries must be based on the assessment and diagnosis by a licensed medical or mental health professional. Claims must be filed within three years of the date of diagnosis. Injuries diagnosed after the last date of employment shall not prohibit a claim against the employer at the time of first responder’s direct exposure. Finally, a PTSI caused by an employment action is not compensable.
First responders would be defined as an EMS provider, professional or volunteer firefighter, a State Police Officer or a peace officer.