First Responders in Maine Oppose Limits to PTSD Benefits - News - @ JEMS.com


First Responders in Maine Oppose Limits to PTSD Benefits

The determination of "permanent impairment" comes when injured workers have used up their benefits, which last 10 years.


 
 

REBEKAH METZLER, Kennebec Journal | | Friday, April 15, 2011


AUGUSTA -- Firefighters, police officers and other first responders turned out for a public hearing Wednesday to oppose a bill that would curb eligibility for permanent coverage for mental illnesses under Maine workers' compensation law.

State Rep. Kerri Prescott, R-Topsham, who proposed L.D. 1065, said it is needed to reduce litigation and avoid "unreliable" workers' compensation claims.

The measure, which came before the Legislature's Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee, was supported by the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Workers' Compensation Coordinating Council and the Maine Council of Self-Insureds.

"What we have seen in the field is, in the last several years, a significant increase in claims that physical injuries have psychiatric components to them, such as depression because of disability, economic factors, pain and so forth," said Kevin Gillis, executive director of the Workers' Compensation Coordinating Council and the Maine Council of Self-Insureds.

The determination of "permanent impairment" comes when injured workers have used up their benefits, which last 10 years.

Many firefighters and police officers testified against the bill, saying many in their field have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious emotional disabilities for just doing their jobs.

William Fournier, an Auburn police officer, supervised the crime scene when Angela Palmer, a 4-year-old girl, was killed in an oven in 1984. He said the incident still haunts him.

"One particular incident, (my wife) heard a commotion in the dining room, which was me screaming. I had my service revolver loaded, at my head, and the hammer was cocked," he said. "I have no recollection of this whatsoever."

Fournier said he was denied workers' compensation by the city of Auburn.

"I did my job; I did it right. I implore you people, as this committee, to seriously think about this," he said. "I think your first responders deserve better."

Paul Sighinolfi, executive director of the Workers' Compensation Board, said the panel voted unanimously to oppose Prescott's bill.

"Our workers' compensation act recognizes emotional injury; if you say that you can't get (permanent impairment) for an emotional injury, what you are essentially saying is we're going to carve out that group of injuries and say those people can't get benefits to which all others may be eligible to get," he said. "We think that's simply unfair."



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, CISD, PTSD, mental health, politics

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Glendale Firefighters Suspended for Punching Patient

Excessive force was used on a combative patient.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Vancouver Chemical Fire Causes Major Response

Hazmat incident sends smoke over port neighborhood.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Salt Lake City Firefighters Injured in Firehouse Fire

Nine sent to a hospital with smoke inhalation.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Pennsylvania Paramedic Killed in the Line of Duty

West End Ambulance medic killed at accident scene.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Skids off Runway at LaGuardia Airport

Delta flight stops just short of Flushing Bay
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Rigs Going in Service from EMS Today 2015

Snap shots of some of the vehicles at EMS Today that will be on the streets soon
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >