First responders risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of others. In doing so, they sometimes suffer from serious injuries of their own. It is important to remember that these are not always only physical injuries. Police officers and firefighters can suffer from emotional and mental injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, this is often forgotten and many people do not receive the treatment they need for it. It is because of this that the state of Virginia is looking to take action that provides workers’ compensation benefits to first responders with PTSD.
New Virginia PTSD Bill
Virginia’s Senate committee recently passed a bill, SB 561, that states PTSD incurred by first responders is covered under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. This may be as long as a mental health professional diagnoses the individual as suffering from PTSD as a result of an event that happened in the line of duty on or after July 1. The bill would also designate PTSD as an occupational disease. This means that it is a chronic ailment that occurs as a result of work or occupational activity.
The bill was introduced by Senator Jill Vogel in an attempt to change legislation regarding mental health after the Virginia Beach mass shooting last year. In addition to this, Erin Rice of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters spoke in support of the legislation, as it would treat mental health issues just as seriously as physical injuries that are sustained on the job. Backing up this notion, Senator Richard Saslaw stated, “These people put their lives on the line for us and I just don’t see how we can say ‘well we’ll only pay for you if you’re physically injured, but not as a result of trauma you went through,” he continued, “I don’t see how we can keep denying these people.”
The Finance and Appropriations Committee voted 14-1 in favor of the bill. It is now headed to the Senate floor for a vote.
If you have become the victim of an on the job injury, it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney and the doctor that is treating you to determine how to make the process as easy as possible. AllianceMeds understands that a workplace accident can be challenging and is here to help. We will deliver your medication to your door using overnight delivery and cover any out of pocket expenses that may arise. If you have any questions about how we can help, contact AllianceMeds today.