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Virginia lawmakers to consider adding dispatchers to PTSD law


Virginia lawmakers in both chambers will consider adding 911 dispatchers to the list of first responders who are able to file workers compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder on presumption that an event witnessed at work caused their mental ailment, according to a pair of bills filed in the last week.

H.B. 1631, introduced Saturday, adds “dispatchers” as qualifying professionals.

S.B. 904, prefiled on Thursday and sent to committee, defines a “public safety telecommunicator” as “an individual employed by a public safety answering point, an emergency medical dispatch service provider, or both, who is qualified to operate communication systems to receive requests for emergency assistance and provide for the appropriate emergency response either directly or through communication with the appropriate public safety office or emergency medical services provider.”

That bill also proposed adding language that permits diagnoses of “anxiety disorder” or “depressive disorder” to qualify for benefits.