Ohio Workers' Comp Budget Won't Include Coverage for First Responders Suffering from PTSD

Lawmakers say they plan to approve coverage for public safety employees in separate legislation later this year.

After intense debate over a measure to give first responders coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder, the Ohio state legislature passed a two-year budget for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation on Wednesday that did not include the provision.

The new budget, which amounts to nearly $645 million, is now in the hands of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine. Senators were uncomfortable with policy provisions inserted into the bill by House Republicans and said they would handle PTSD coverage for public safety workers in separate legislation later this year, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The existing law only allows PTSD benefits when it is accompanied by a physical injury, according to Cleveland.com. Ohio state retirement funds grant disability benefits to first responders for PTSD depending on the circumstances, but advocates say this is not enough to support employees who face ongoing trauma in the course of doing their jobs.

House members attempted to reinsert the coverage into an amended version of the bill, but the conference committee process in Ohio requires “yes” votes from two members of each chamber for passage, the Dispatch reported. In turn, two “no” votes from senators were enough to defeat the amendment.

Michael Weinman, a lobbyist for the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, told the Dispatch that his organization has worked for eight years for PTSD coverage for first responders.

“This was a perfect opportunity to get PTSD into law,” Weinman said. “This further delay is going to cost first responders their lives.”

Larry Obhof, the Senate president, said he supports funding the coverage but wants more study and hearings to produce a “cleaner version” of the legislation, according to the Dispatch.

During committee negotiations, House members also dropped a controversial provision to require people filing injury claims to list their citizenship and immigration status and whether or not they were an undocumented worker.

Critics of the measure said that undocumented workers are already at high risk for exploitation from employers and that the provision would only further deter them from filing claims if they were injured on the job.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • COVID-19 Return to Work Kit

    Streamline your return to work program and ensure your employees can get back safely with these resources created by certified occupational health, safety, and infectious disease experts.

  • 9 Common Questions About Behavior-Based Safety

    Renowned workplace safety expert Dr. Andrew Sharman answers 9 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about behavior-based safety programs.

  • COVID-19 Employee Health Screening Toolkit

    Powerful health assessment tools designed to help occupational health practitioners, employee health departments, and health and safety professionals conduct rapid workforce health screening to reduce the risk of infection and ensure business continuity.

  • RSIGuard Home Ergonomics Software

    Ensure you and your employees can work safely from home with a 6 month free trial of the RSIGuard desktop ergonomics software.

  • 5 Reasons You Should Embrace the Cloud for EHSQ Software

    EHSQ managers can realize reduced costs, increased productivity and enhanced software reliability when using SaaS.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2020

    June 2020

    Featuring:

    • FIRE SAFETY
      Recognizing and Mitigating Static Electricity Hazards
    • OIL & GAS
      New Gas Detection Technology
    • HEAT STRESS
      Stop Sweating Heat Stress
    • ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Electricity is Everywhere
    View This Issue