By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter
March 26, 2018
News 6 will join first responders, their families for special ceremony
Gov. Rick Scott will sign legislation Tuesday that will provide first responders with wage compensation as they receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Senate Bill 376, approved unanimously by both the Senate and the House, will provide workers compensation benefits, “Providing that, under certain circumstances, post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by a first responder is an occupational disease compensable by workers’ compensation benefits.”
The new law eliminates the mandate that a physical injury must accompany the PTSD diagnosis.
During a special ceremony honoring state fire fighters in Tallahassee earlier this month, Scott took a moment to honor first responders lost in the line of duty and to PTSD.
“I want to thank all firefighters for the sacrifices they make,” he said. “I intend to sign it (SB 376) as soon as it reaches my desk.”
Scott and Chief Financial Officer/State Fire Marshall Jimmy Patronis will join dozens of first responders and their families at a special bill signing ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Tampa Firefighter Museum.
In an exclusive interview, Patronis said the stories covered by News 6 along with his meeting with first responders and their families, inspired him to make the PTSD law his top priority.
“Suicide in that profession is five times higher than the rest of the United States. I hate that those sacrifices had to take place in order to bring this issue to light,” he said.
Jessica Realin, wife of Pulse first responder Gerry Realin, has been an instrumental force in pushing for PTSD legislation.
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