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Benefits could fill PTSD hole in comp


Moving the focus from workers compensation to enhanced benefits for first responders could be key to solving issues concerning first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder, experts say.

“We are going to see a movement away, an evolution away from basic presumption legislation to the creation of benefits programs — something other than workers comp,” said John Hanson, an Atlanta-based senior consultant with Willis Towers Watson PLC.

Legislation introduced in Arizona failed but addressed one component Mr. Hanson predicts will crop up in future legislation: counseling sessions. H.B. 2501 mandated that first responders be provided with 36 counseling sessions, an increase from the 12 sessions now provided.

Other states have already tackled the issue. Georgia and New York are two examples of states that have enhanced benefits programs for first responders with PTSD, according to Cari Miller, Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based director and counsel for governmental affairs at Gallagher Bassett Services Inc.

“These programs have both a medical coverage and a wage-replacement component,” Ms. Miller said in an email.

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