Senators passed a bill Aug. 11 to address the mental health strain experienced by emergency first responders.
LB963, sponsored by Gordon Sen. Tom Brewer, provides first responders with opportunities to receive resilience training to help prevent or mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The bill allows first responders to establish a presumptive case of PTSD from cumulative injury or stress caused by conditions of employment as a personal injury for workers’ compensation purposes.
To establish such a case, the first responder must show that he or she: underwent a mental health examination before the onset of the mental injury or illness, obtained testimony from a qualifying mental health professional attesting that he or she suffers from a mental injury or illness and participated in resilience training prior to the onset of the mental injury or illness and annually thereafter.
The state Department of Health and Human Services will reimburse first responders for resilience training if their employers do not.
Under the bill, only state-licensed, independent practicing physicians, psychologists and mental health practitioners are qualified to render an official PTSD diagnosis.
The opportunities provided by LB963 will end on Jan. 1, 2028.
Provisions of LB448, originally introduced by Omaha Sen. Mike McDonnell, increase burial benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses to $11,000. Beginning in 2023, the cap will be adjusted by a maximum of 2.75 percent per year.
The bill passed on a 45-0 vote.