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Florida moving forward with workers’ compensation coverage for first responders with PTSD

by Mary McNitt | Oct 17, 2018

The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has initiated the rule-making process to provide workers’ compensation benefits coverage for first responders suffering from work-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 376 ― to extend workers’ compensation coverage ― during its 2018 session and the governor signed it in March, with a specification for the DWC to develop a regulatory structure to define injury qualifications and requirements.

The Florida bill aims to provide workers’ compensation coverage for first responders who suffer mental-only injuries due to exposure to “Grievous Bodily Harm of a Nature that Shocks the Conscience.” The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) reported that similar legislation has been considered in at least 16 other states.  Although interest in first responder benefits legislation has been trending for several years, the presumption of PTSD benefits is a new consideration.  Additionally, the bill provides for the employing agency to train first responders regarding mental health awareness, prevention and treatment.

As Optum is a stakeholder in providing pharmacy services, our government affairs team continues to monitor this type of legislative and associated regulatory activity for impact to pharmacy claims, both current and future.  Expansion of coverage to include PTSD for first responders could bring a new level of pharmacy-related care to address these claims.

Should you have any questions on this or any other policy development issue, please contact us at AskGovtAffairs@optum.com.

A link to the Florida DWC regulatory processes on Senate Bill 376 can be found here: https://www.flrules.org/gateway/View_Notice.asp?id=20904972


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