Alabama House passes first responder PTSD reimbursement bill

Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 7:43 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama House of Representatives has passed a bill to help some first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Many first responders experience PTSD, and lawmakers say this bill will help them receive the help they need.

Workers’ compensation in Alabama does not currently cover mental diseases unless there is a physical injury.

Under this bill, local governments will reimburse copays for employed law enforcement officers and firefighters to receive treatment for PTSD.

Both House Republicans and Democrats support the bill, with 98 lawmakers voting for it and one person abstaining.

This bill does not provide assistance for volunteer firefighters, but the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne, said he wants volunteers included in future legislation.

“Got a call from a law enforcement officer that said that they were struggling, that they were concerned in the department for PTSD and a number of officers and firefighters that are suffering from PTSD,” said Simpson.

“This is not the perfect bill. This is the bill to get my foot in the door to get help to those people who need it,” he said.

The League of Municipalities said they support the bill, but are concerned about cities’ budgets being affected.

The bill’s sponsor says he doesn’t believe this will damage the budgets of local governments.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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