COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio House has passed a bill that protects emergency medical workers, police officers and firefighters suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Specifically, it allows them to be eligible for compensation and benefits regardless if they already suffer from an accompanying injury or not.
Additionally, the legislation clarifies that claimants will not be able to receive benefits from the Workers’ Compensation Law for PTSD while simultaneously receiving disability benefits from a state retirement system for that injury.
Cleveland EMS workers have been fighting city hall for better mental health benefits.
This follows a 2013 Ohio Supreme Court opinion that determined that a person seeking workers’ compensation for a PTSD claim was ineligible to receive those benefits if they did not have a compensable physical injury that caused their PTSD.
“While I greatly respect and admire the legal judgment and knowledge of our Supreme Court, I believe that this verdict could have unintended consequences for police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers in our communities who have witnessed horrible traumatic events that can potentially leave them mentally scarred,” said State Rep. Tom Patton, the bill’s sponsor.
The Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters, Ohio State Medical Association, Columbus Fire Fighters IAFF Local 67 and Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio supported the bill.
The bill now heads to the State Senate. Several other states have adopted similar legislation.