Vermont legislation calling for workers’ compensation coverage for behavioral health conditions resulting from on-the-job stresses – such as post-traumatic stress – awaits Governor Phil Scott’s signature to become law.
“Our members see trauma every day,” says Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont (PFFV) President Bradley Reed. “Over time, these incidents can lead to behavioral health issues, including issues as serious as post-traumatic stress. After the governor signs this legislation, our members, through workers’ compensation, will be able to get the treatment they need to stay on the job.”
The PFFV worked with its friends in the state House to craft H. 197, which garnered broad bipartisan support before it passed the House, but was too late to meet the legislature’s crossover deadline to be considered by the Senate in the current legislative session. Instead, the Senate attached the bill to S. 56 (An Act Relating to Life Insurance Policies and the Vermont Uniform Securities Act), and it was passed unanimously, sending it to the governor’s desk.
The PFFV intensified efforts to address behavioral health issues after its most recent convention where delegates voted to form a standing Health and Wellness Committee focused on educating members to recognize the symptoms and signs of the disorder. A peer support network is also in development.