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Jul 06, 2021

Connecticut PTSI Bill Signed into Law

Connecticut state legislators signed into law this week, Senate Bill 660 – An Act Expanding workers' compensation benefits for certain mental or emotional impairments suffered by health care providers in connection with COVID-19. The original bill expanded upon by SB660 passed in 2019 with bipartisan support but omitted EMS professionals, dispatchers and several other key groups.

The IAEP took up the fight shortly thereafter and launched a push for amendment. With commanding personal testimony from National Director Phil Petit, a version of SB660 was set to pass just before the global pandemic hit American shores. With COVID-19 taking center stage and all legislative voting flung into disarray, the bill languished in house committees for over a year. Thanks to the persistence of supporting legislators and especially those of the Connecticut Labor Committee it was assured the issue would resurface.

With the passage of SB660 this month, the process to acknowledge, assess and treat trauma accumulated on the job by first responders has begun in earnest. Although many independent assistance programs exist and a great deal of them come at no cost it is without a doubt that a systemic problem like PTSI’s in EMS require a systemic solution.

Long time Connecticut EMS professional turned IAEP National Representative, Peter Zera had this to say:
"Our EMS professionals now have means to get the help they need without fear of losing their livelihood. The fact is, no one can predict how this job will impact us down the line. For many, it’s meant years of struggling with undiagnosed PTSI on their own. For countless others this legislation comes too late, but, with the support of the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, EMS professionals in Connecticut will not have to suffer alone like their brothers and sisters in the past."  

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