A larger group of first responders and frontline workers may soon be able to get workers compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
NBC Connecticut Investigates reported stories of police and firefighters struggling with work-related PTSD just before legislation was passed to cover them workers two years ago.
It was then that former police officer Justin Lord told NBC Connecticut Investigates that there was no replacement for the treatment he received for work-related PTSD.
“The resources that were directed to me really saved my life,” Lord said.
Two years ago, a bill became law providing coverage to Connecticut police and firefighters for PTSD claims.
Cities hesitated at first due to costs and other factors, and in the end, paramedics and others were left out, prompting paramedics like Douglas Dole to form the Association of Paramedics and paramedics in Connecticut to advocate for their cause.
“It was very frustrating to see that the EMS system was not included when this bill was really about the EMS,” Dole explained.
Fast forward to 2021, and Senator Julie Kushner, who helped push through the original bill, spearheaded a new bill expanding workers’ PTSD coverage to a number of new groups, including , but not limited to EMS staff, dispatchers and correctional officers.
She believes the pandemic has clarified the difficult situations they face.
“I just think the time is right, who’s going to come and say that there haven’t been any post-traumatic stress injuries this year when we have been faced with some of the most horrific circumstances of death?” Kushner said.
The bill, sponsored by the co-chairs of the Kushner Labor and Civil Servants Committee, received unanimous Senate approval this week.
She said she was 100% convinced that she will go through the House and be signed by Governor Ned Lamont a relief to people like Dole.
“We hope no one should be covered by this. But unfortunately we know that there are people who will suffer from PTSD and we are happy that they are getting the coverage now, ”Dole said.
In testimony opposed to the expansion of PTSD earlier this year, an organization representing cities said costs would vary depending on the number of claims and their severity.
He cited a report that a single claim for a mental stress event could cost anywhere from $ 10,000 to $ 1 million. for the duration of the complaint.
NBC Connecticut Investigates has reported extensively on the issue of first responder PTSD in recent years, previously with a survey of nearly 8,000 officers on PTSD conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police and NBC-owned stations. , who took a closer look at the issues reported by officers. experience after stressful calls.
A similar investigation addressed the problem among firefighters.