FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/16/2017
After Tragic Police Ambush in Dallas Rep. John Wray Files Legislation Providing PTSD Coverage to First Responders
AUSTIN – Early Thursday morning Representative John Wray filed House Bill 1983, allowing first responders to receive treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder through workers' compensation.
“Every day the brave men and women of Texas' fire and police departments put themselves in harm's way to ensure our safety,” said John Wray. “The incredibly difficult and stressful nature of their job can lead to PTSD. For too long the stigma of seeking treatment has led to these courageous Texans feeling helpless and alone. Today I ask my fellow members of the Texas legislature to live up to our responsibility and ensure that we take care of the heroes who guarantee our safety and security here at home.”
“It's not only the physical injuries our officers must recover from in the aftermath of traumatic events,” said Mitch Landry, Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Municipal Police Association. “The longer lasting mental anguish – which goes unnoticed by the public – often times leads to a debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder for our officers. One unfortunate example is the recent ambush in Dallas that mentally traumatized a large number of officers who witnessed five colleagues murdered in the line of duty.”
“PTSD is a critical issue for Texas fire fighters and first responders. Access to treatment for our men and women in uniform is vital to ensuring that they are equipped to serve our communities," said John Riddle, President of the Texas State Association of Fire. "We appreciate Rep. Wray’s efforts to help improve understanding and workers' comp coverage of PTSD.”
"We have seen more and more cases where officers who are involved in traumatic events suffer aftereffects from those incidents including PTSD," said Chris Jones, Training Coordinator of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. " With examples like the Dallas ambush, that injured over 10 officers and killed 5 in one incident, it is clear that the other officers involved in that tragedy will suffer for years to come."
HB 1983 would allow first responders to receive coverage for PTSD through workers' compensation without declaring mental impairment. This requirement has served as a major barrier to access and creates a possibility for termination to any first responder who seeks treatment under the current workers comp system. Removing this obstacle and providing access to treatment for first responders should be a priority for the legislature.
CONTACT: Tabatha Vasquez