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Florida bill would cover PTSD for first responders

Florida bill would cover PTSD for first responders

A law that would provide workers compensation benefits to Florida first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder was introduced in the state’s Senate Thursday. 

Senate Bill 516, introduced by state Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, would amend existing law that has barred police and firefighters from claiming mental injuries under workers compensation. 

The issue made headlines recently after a police officer responding to the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting in June 2016 reported to the press that he suffers from PTSD after spending hours processing the crime scene that including tagging and carrying out 49 dead bodies. 

Current Florida law finds the nature of work by first responders to be a function of their job, and eliminates post-traumatic stress disorder as a compensable injury. 

A draft of the proposed law states that a mental injury must be “demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist to meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder as described in the most as described in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association and if the mental or nervous injury arose out of an activity performed within the course of employment.” 

If passed, the law would go into effect July 1, 2017. 

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