|Posted:||February 25, 2022 11:05 AM|
|From:||Representative Brian Sims and Rep. Christopher M. Rabb|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Reforms to the Heart and Lung Act|
|A recent Inquirer exposé has shed light on a much-needed reform in the ranks of Pennsylvania law enforcement.
This article demonstrated that the number of Philadelphia police officers out of duty on injury claims has doubled in the last few years. The article later detailed how some of these injured officers hold down second jobs, play on travel softball teams, and engage in other physically strenuous activities, all-the-while being too injured to return to police work.
Heart and Lung Act benefits are meant to provide financial security for police officers and other emergency personnel if an injury prevents them from working. If a law enforcement officer is receiving benefits unfairly or abusing the system, they are taking money from the taxpayers, their fellow police officers, and adding to a distrust of law enforcement.
We need to act to ensure these benefits are reserved for those who genuinely need them. As public servants, we have a responsibility to ensure that the public’s money is being spent in a transparent, responsible, and effective manner.
Our bill would provide more transparency in the system, make it more difficult for officers to abuse or take advantage of the system, and ensure that physicians evaluating injured officers are chosen independently. For instance, at present, the Fraternal Order of Police chooses physicians for injured police officers in Philadelphia. Conflicts of interest like this need to be prohibited to restore the integrity of this important benefit to first responders.
We hope you stand with us and bring much needed reform to these important benefits.
Introduced as HB2643