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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 26, 2021 01:45 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta and Sen. Mike Regan
To: All Senate members
Subject: Workers' Compensation for First Responders with PTSI
In the near future we will be introducing legislation to change the standard that a first responder must meet in order to establish a workers’ compensation claim for a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI).
Under this bill, firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics would be entitled to benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law for psychological traumas arising from individual traumatic events or cumulative highly stressful experiences resulting from their employment, regardless of whether the trauma is accompanied by physical injuries requiring medical treatment.
Under current Pennsylvania law, as held by the Pennsylvania Courts, a first responder must prove there were “objective abnormal working conditions” in order to establish a PTSI claim. This standard sets a high bar that can be difficult to meet.
This legislation will instead establish clearer criteria for establishing a PTSI claim and will require diagnosis from a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist in accordance with the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.
It is often observed that first responders see citizens during a crisis that may well be one of the worst days of their lives. During these critical responses, the smallest personal details can make a lasting impact on our heroes and trigger long-term mental health issues. The harms caused by PTSI are significant, impacting not only the individual, but often family, friends and communities. Far too many first responders are lost each year to suicide.
We allocate resources to train, educate and prepare first responders to protect us and respond to crises, but often fail to provide sufficient resources to support these individuals mental health. We believe this bill will set reasonable standards to establish a workers’ compensation PTSI claim so that our first responders can receive the treatment that they need and deserve.
Please join us in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB775