January 29, 2018

First Responder Workers’ Compensation PTSD Legislation - Oppose HB 227!

 
HB 227 ( Willhite) will be considered by the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee tomorrow morning, Tuesday, January 30 at 8:30 a.m.

HB 227 provides that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was shown to meet the criteria for PTSD.

Please contact members of the committee and ask them to Oppose HB 227. This bill fails to balance the fiscal impact on taxpayer funded workers’ compensation costs with the needs of first responders receiving increased wage benefits for job related mental injuries.

Talking Points
Cities and counties are primary employers of first responders. Local taxpayers will incur almost all the potential fiscal impact of any new benefits created by the legislation.

This well-intended bill is not needed: In 2007, the Legislature enacted significant changes in workers’ compensation benefits for first responders. The law provides for the payment of medical benefits in employment-related cases for first responders that involve a mental or nervous injury or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without an accompanying physical injury requiring medical treatment. Medical treatment for first responders suffering from PTSD is already covered under current law.

In 2015, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation studied similar legislation considered by the Ohio Legislature. They estimated it would cost public employers in Ohio $182 million a year to make first responders eligible for workers’ compensation benefits arising from work related PTSD, without an accompanying physical injury. Cities and counties are the primary employers of first responders. Local taxpayers will incur almost all the potential fiscal impact of any new benefits created by the legislation.

Emphasis for first responders’ mental health should focus on treatment and education, and not revolve around additional worker’s compensation benefits, which are already significantly more robust for first responders.

Contains disincentives to work. The Florida League of Cities advocates providing the needed treatment for our first responders to return to work as quickly as possible. However, we are cautious about inadvertently setting up a system that creates a greater economic incentive for our first responders NOT to return to work or get healthy.

Creates imbalance in the workforce. The Florida League of Cities supports maintaining a uniform and comprehensive workers comp system for all employees.
 
Please contact members of the House Oversight, Transparency and Administration  Subcommittee and urge them to Oppose HB 227!
House Oversight, Transparency and Administration Subcommittee Members
Jennifer Sullivan, Chair (R-31)
(850) 717-5031

Bob Rommel, Vice-Chair (R-106)
(850) 717-5106

K atie A. Edwards-Walpole (D-98)
(850) 717-5098

Danny Burgess (R-38)

Kimberly Daniels (D-14)
(850) 717-5014

Tracie Davis (D-13)
(850) 717-5013

Brad Drake (R-5)
(850) 717-5005
Patrick Henry (D-26)
(850) 717-5026

Blaise Ingoglia (R-35)
(850) 717-5035

Lawrence McClure (R-58)
(850) 717-5058

Cary Pigman (R-55)
(850) 717-5055

Charlie Stone (R-22)
(850) 717-5022

Jayer Williamson (R-3)
(850) 717-5003

Clay Yarborough (R-12)
(850) 717-5012
Click here for an easy cut and paste email list.
You can also use the League’s Contact Your Legislator advocacy tool to email lawmakers. Let us know you've responded by submitting an online Advocacy Action Report or emailing Allison Payne at apayne@flcities.com .

Thank you for your advocacy efforts!