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Oregon House passes PTSD presumption bill

Posted On: Jun. 5, 2019 12:45 PM CST


The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill that would make presumptions on the compensability of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by first responders.

S.B. 507 passed unanimously in the House on Tuesday and will now move to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk for signature. The bill passed the state’s Senate on May 15 in a 26-2 vote.

Under the legislation, full-time firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, parole and probation officers and first responders who have served at least five years and experienced a single traumatic event may be covered for PTSD.

Similar to other states with PTSD presumption, for the condition to presumed to be compensable as an occupational disease, an individual must be diagnosed by a qualified psychiatrist following the American Psychology Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and establish through preponderance of medical evidence that the employee has more likely than not suffered from PTSD that has resulted in death, disability or impairment.

The legislation does allow insurers to rebut the presumption, but only through “clear and convincing medical evidence that duties as a covered employee were not of real importance or great consequence in causing the diagnosed condition.”

If the legislation is signed by the governor, it would take effect 91 days after the 2019 legislative session adjourns.

The Oregon governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the bill.