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Senate Bill 5 – General Assembly 131 “PTSD and Ohio Workers’ Compensation”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Senate Bill 5 seeks to have post traumatic stress disorder without physical injury included in the definition of injury for police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers.  Clearly, this move is well intentioned however, it is mired in imprecise language that will cause unintentional consequences resulting in abuse on many levels.

The language in the bill seeks to widen the definition of what was initially – first responders, and emergency technicians, paramedics to “emergency medical workers” – by removing limiting language. This certainly expands the scope of the affected individual.

Of most concern is the emphasis on diagnosis rather than the event itself, which would be very specific to each individual. The fluidity of the language causes difficulty in determining which types of events would warrant this diagnosis and the fact that the latency periods are completely individually based.

The Ohio BWC estimates that the change could cost employers $182 million annually – based on calculations using a national average of 18 percent for first responders filing for PTSD – and double the premiums for public employers.

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