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Lawmakers Announce Compromise on PTSD Bill

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | 459 | 0 | 13 min read

Six years after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings, Connecticut lawmakers, first responders and municipalities have unveiled compromise legislation that would make post-traumatic stress disorder compensable.

Connecticut news sites reported today that the proposed bill would provide one year of benefits, and only for those responders who have witnessed one of six types of traumatic events.

“I think it demonstrates the ability of labor and management to sit down and reach an agreement,” Peter Carozza, president of the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association of Connecticut, said at a news conference.

The benefit expansion would be available to police officers, firefighters — professional and volunteer — and parole officers. The compromise also would expand from 30 days to 180 days the evaluation period during which the employer can decide whether to accept or to deny a PTSD claim.

“I think there’s a very great potential that this bill we worked out could actually be model legislation for other parts of the country,” said Joe DeLong, executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Executives. “This is not a unique-to-Connecticut issue and I really like how the players came to the table and worked this deal out in a way others may want to follow.”

After first responders were faced with the deaths of 20 children and six educators in the shooting at Newtown in 2012, lawmakers have struggeled to craft a PTSD bill that would be seen as helpful to workers without burdening local taxpayers, the news site reported.

This year, stakeholders met frequently and looked at research from around the country, including Florida, which last year approved a PTSD benefit for first responders. Analysis shows that very few first responders have sought treatment and benefits since the bill passed.

The six types of events that would qualify a responder include:

  • Viewing a deceased minor.
  • Witnessing the death of a person.
  • Witnessing an injury that causes the death of a person shortly thereafter.
  • Treating an injured person who dies shortly thereafter.
  • Carrying an injured person who dies shortly thereafter.
  • And witnessing an incident that causes a person to lose a body part, to suffer a loss of body function, or that results in permanent disfigurement.

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