Vt. responders first in U.S. to gain workers’ comp for mental health
The historic legislation could pave the way for responders all over the country
By EMS1 Staff
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont responders will now be the first state in the U.S. to receive workers’ compensation for mental health issues.
VTDigger reported that the Professional Firefighters of Vermont and the Vermont Troopers Association said the extreme conditions in which they work take a toll on not only the body, but the mind as well.
“Our members will be able to access treatment that will keep our firefighters and paramedics on the street, and keep them healthy so they can continue to provide the essential emergency services Vermonters call for every day,” Professional Firefighters of Vermont president Bradley Reed said.
The bill overturns a Vermont Supreme Court ruling that prohibits responders from receiving workers’ compensation for mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Prior to the bill, workers’ compensation was only allowed for mental health if it was related to a physical injury.
International Association of Firefighters 3rd district vice president Jay Colbert thinks the passing of the historic bill will cause other states to follow suit.
“This truly is a historic day, and on behalf of the 304,000 firefighters across the United States and Canada, I want to commend the people, the legislators and the emergency responders in the state of Vermont for leading the way,” Colbert said.
The new bill went into effect on July 1.