House passes O’Mara bill supporting first responders with PTSI

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara’s legislation to make post traumatic stress injury an eligible claim for first responders filing workers compensation passed the House today.

House Bill 1632 received strong bipartisan support, passing 154-46. The bill outlines that for a first responder to qualify, the injury would have to be brought on as a result of the first responder’s job duties and the individual would have to have received a PTSI diagnosis from a licensed medical or mental health professional.

“I fundamentally believe that this bill will help first responders and save workers’ lives,” O’Mara said. “My dad was a firefighter in Philadelphia – he was my hero – and he died by suicide in 2003. First responders are heroes, but they’re not superheroes. We need to make mental health care more accessible to prevent tragedies like the one my family went through.”

House Bill 1632 would make PTSI an eligible claim by amending the Worker’s Compensation Act. If enacted, Pennsylvania would be the 26th state to provide workers’ compensation benefits to first responders suffering from PTSI.

The bill’s other co-prime sponsors are House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Majority and Minority Chairs Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Mark Gillen, R-Berks; State Reps. Tarik Khan, D-Phila.; Greg Scott, D-Montgomery; Tim Brennan, D-Bucks; and Jim Rigby, R-Cambria/Somerset.

O’Mara’s remarks in the House chamber on her bill can be viewed here:

House Bill 1632 now awaits consideration in the state Senate.