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Ohio House Approves Workers Comp Coverage For First Responders With PSTD

The new Columbus Police Wellness Bureau.
Adora Namigadde
/
WOSU
The new Columbus Police Wellness Bureau.

Ohio is one step closer to granting workers' compensation to first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder. The policy change would base benefits off of the mental health condition rather than requiring an accompanying physical injury.

First responders lined the balcony of the Ohio House chamber to applaud lawmakers after they passed the PTSD workers' compensation bill, HB308.

State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) says offering benefits and treatment for PTSD will help prevent death by suicide.

"It's a good bill. You won't do another bill that's gonna save as many lives that you know of as you'll be able to do today," Patton says.

Those advocating for the bill in committee said first responders are exposed to traumatic events on a daily basis.

"PTSD is a well-defined and scientifically validated mental disorder that affects only a small fraction of individuals who are exposed to trauma," Megan Testa, Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association, told a House committee. "This is a disservice to the resilient professionals who develop PTSD due to what they witness and experience during the course of their work protecting and serving Ohioans."

Opponents of the bill suggested the state create a different system to provide benefits. However supporters countered that they already have a system in place with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

The bill now moves to the Senate where a similar measure was removed from the BWC budget bill last year.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.