Ohio To Consider PTSD Coverage For First Responders — Again

05 Feb, 2020 Liz Carey

                               

Columbus, OH (WorkersCompensation.com) – A bill before the Ohio legislature would extend workers’ compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder for first responders. House Bill 308 would change current law that covers PTSD only in cases where it accompanies another “compensable” physical injury.

Law enforcement officers and organizations support the bill, but it’s drawing fire from businesses and local governments. During a hearing on January 28, both sides spoke before the House Insurance Committee to discuss the pros and cons of the bill’s provisions.

It’s not the first time the coverage has come up.

“Failure to treat PTSD often leads to death or suicide and creates on-the-job issues, such as avoidance and hypersensitivity,” Michael Weinman, director of governmental affairs for the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, said in the hearing. “We’ve been fighting for this for nine years now. And in that period of time, dozens of police officers have committed suicide. The resistance to this is maddening, quite frankly. There’s absolutely no justification for it.

Ohio’s Legislative Service Commission estimates the legislation would increase costs to the workers’ compensation system by $44 million in the first year.

In 2019, House Bill 80 provided for PTSD coverage without physical injury, but the provision was removed from the version passed by the Ohio Senate.

Groups like the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association opposed the bill, while those like the Ohio State Medical Association supported it and also submitted testimony.

“In addition to allowing a purely mental claim into Ohio’s workers’ compensation system for the first time, HB 308 fails to include any guardrails that would help assure the injury arose out of and during the course of an individuals’ employment. The lack of guardrails is concerning to the Ohio Chamber because states that have addressed the issue of compensating mental conditions included significant guardrails,” Kevin Shimp, director of labor and legal affairs for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, told legislators in his testimony last week. “Instead, we believe a broader conversation about where PTSD arising in the course of employment is the most effectively and appropriately financed – whether that’s private health insurance, private disability insurance or a completely different model – and that these talks about where it should be financed should continue to take place.”


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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