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Lawmaker Wants Comp Coverage for Dispatchers' PTSD

  • State: Colorado
  • Topic: WEST
  • - Average time spent on item: 47 minutes
  • - Popular with: Insurance
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A Colorado lawmaker said he will work to close a “loophole” that prevents emergency dispatchers from receiving workers’ compensation benefits for emotional trauma.

Police, firefighters and other first responders may receive work comp benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder, CBS in Denver reported. But because emergency dispatchers only hear, and do not see, the traumatic events, they are not covered.

Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, said he worked for years to get PTSD covered for police, firefighters and other first responders. He said he hopes it will be much quicker to get the same coverage for 911 dispatchers.

Emergency dispatchers told the news outlet about the stress of hearing a caller’s last breaths or the callers' screams as they discover a loved one’s lifeless body.

In 2017, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Singer’s House Bill 1229, which removed a provision saying compensability for PTSD claims was limited to events not related to a worker’s typical job responsibilities.

Singer’s bill also allows workers who are attacked or “visually witness” a violent attack or its immediate aftermath to receive benefits for mental impairments that are diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. The law took effect last year.

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