Kentucky bill aims to extend treatment window for firefighters with PTSD

The bill passed the House unanimously with a vote of 97 to zero.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:54 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A bill designed to help firefighters get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder has hit a snag in the Kentucky Senate after unanimously passing the house.

Ky. Rep. Kim Banta sponsored House BIll 52. She confirms the bill has been temporarily withdrawn but says it is only being revised and the bill will be reintroduced in the coming days. Banta is confident it will pass the Senate with changes.

Jo Terry, whose husband died by suicide in 2017 after years of service, says current restrictions on PTSD treatment prevent firefighters from getting the help they need.

“It’s the course of trauma that occurs over their careers,” Terry said. “It’s not usually related to one incident like people think. It’s run after run after run, and overtime, that changes their fear center.”

Following her husband’s death, Terry committed herself to helping first responders with PTSD. She says it’s not reasonable to put a timetable on recovery, which she says the current program does. HB 52 aims to eliminate those time constraints.

“For some of those individuals, this is a lifelong diagnosis, and all we’re asking is that money be available to continue to treat them over the course of their life,” Terry said. “PTSD is not something that’s over within 12 months. It would be like asking a diabetic to be done and correct their sugar problems in a 12-month period.”

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