Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

First Responder PTSD Bill Gets Hearing This Week

PTSD.png
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A bill to expand workers’ compensation coverage to first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder is getting a hearing Tuesday in Tallahassee. The Senate’s banking and insurance committee will take up one of two bills filed. Florida first responders can get medical benefits for PTSD but aren’t eligible for other benefits like lost wages.

Geoff Bichler, an attorney representing first responders with PTSD said the bill is too restrictive.

“Most of our first responders never witness a murder, child death or suicide,” Bichler said. “They show up in the aftermath. So the ‘witness’ language is really restrictive. There’s also a requirement that treatment be sought within 15 days of an event. And a lot of times, PTSD doesn’t become an issue for years.”

A similar bill failed last year, and lobbyists for local governments worry the expanded coverage will be too expensive.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.