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Ohio considers loosening PTSD-related comp rules for first responders

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Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that would provide workers compensation to first responders in the state for post-traumatic stress disorder claims without requiring an accompanying physical injury to receive benefits.

The Ohio Senate finance committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on S.B. 5, which was introduced in February, according to the Ohio Legislature website.

The bill would allow peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers who are diagnosed with PTSD to receive comp benefits if the condition is received in and arises out of the course of their employment, the bill reads.

Ohio workers comp law currently requires all workers in the state to show that their psychiatric condition arose from an injury or occupational disease, or from “sexual conduct that was forced by threat of physical harm” before receiving workers comp benefits for mental health claims, the bill shows.

An analysis of S.B. 5 posted on the Ohio Legislature website shows that Ohio had 118,000 peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical employees in 2013. The analysis estimates that Ohio could see 17,700 PTSD diagnoses a year for such workers if 15% of them are diagnosed for the condition annually.