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ExploreLiving with trauma: Ohio first responders want PTSD coverage

State Sen. Bob Hackett, R-London, said there were concerns in the Ohio Senate about how much the original bill would cost and that it would only affect one area of first responders.

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The revised bill applies to peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers who are diagnosed by a psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist with PTSD. Currently, first responders can receive workers’ compensation coverage for PTSD only if the disorder accompanies a physical injury. HB308 doesn’t require that the PTSD be accompanied by a physical on-the-job injury.

The Fraternal Order of Police, one of the largest police unions in Ohio, backed House Bill 308, though it fell short of what the union wanted, said Ohio FOP lobbyist Mike Weinman.

Ohio has more than 30,000 police and firefighters.

In 2015, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation estimated that 18 percent of first responders would file for PTSD coverage at a cost of $182 million a year — almost double the annual premium public entities pay combined.

An analysis by the Legislative Service Commission produced in August 2019 estimates claims could increase by $44 million in the first year, depending on how many first responders are diagnosed with PTSD.

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