Legislation to expand workers’ compensation benefits to include post-traumatic stress disorder for firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and other first responders was signed by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year and will officially take effect on October 1st. Prior to the law’s passage, PTSD was only fully covered by workers’ comp if a mental injury is accompanied by a physical injury that requires medical treatment.
Advocates for the law pointed to the fact that the suicide rate among first responders is higher than the rate among the general population and that expanding workers’ comp coverage for mental health issues like PTSD could bring that number down.
John Correnti is a Fort Myers firefighter who advocated for the law’s passage. Correnti joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about his time working with and helping fellow first responders who struggle with mental health issues.
Also joining the show is Geoff Bichler, a founding member and managing partner of Bichler, Oliver, Longo & Fox, PLLC in Orlando. They represent first responders with work-related disability issues around the state.