In the past weeks the House and Senate have both introduced new standalone workers’ compensation bills (HB 161 and SB 118) that would provide workers’ compensation benefits for first responders who are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, the House Insurance Committee is debating including an amendment to House Bill 27, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget bill, that would do the same. Similar legislation died in the 131st General Assembly.
Under the proposals, first responders who are diagnosed with PTSD under certain eligibility criteria, would qualify for indemnity compensation and medical benefits under Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, regardless of whether there was an accompanying physical injury.
The standalone bills would limit workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD for first responders to one year.
Eliminating the physical injury requirement for benefits would be a major shift in workers’ compensation policy. OMA and its business allies continue to oppose eliminating the physical injury requirement and submitted this letter to House Insurance Committee members, saying: “Selecting one mental condition to the exclusion of all others—much like selecting only a few occupations—will undoubtedly provoke fairness arguments and equal protection challenges in future legislative or judicial actions.” 3/30/2017