W.Va. lawmaker introduces PTSD workers' compensation bill for first responders
It is the fourth year in a row Delegate Chad Lovejoy has introduced the legislation
By Laura French
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state House of Delegates that would provide workers' compensation to first responders who develop PTSD due to their job.
It is the fourth year in a row that Delegate Chad Lovejoy (D-Cabell) has attempted to pass the legislation, according to The Herald-Dispatch. Last year, the bill was approved unanimously in the House but did not reach a vote in the Senate.
The bill would apply to law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who are diagnosed with PTSD, and whose PTSD is the result of an event or events that occurred on the job.
Last year, Lovejoy told fellow lawmakers the story of Huntington Firefighter Chris Coleman, who died by suicide two weeks after returning to duty after using all of his paid time off to receive treatment from PTSD. Coleman had responded to many fatal drug overdoses prior to his diagnosis, including one incident involving someone he knew personally.
The bill is co-sponsored by Delegate Matt Rohrbach (R-Cabell). Lovejoy said he would be willing to take his name off the bill if it would increase support from Republican colleagues. A version of the bill has also been introduced in the state Senate, where it is co-sponsored by all 11 Democratic senators.