Sen. Dan Schoen Viewpoint: Fighting to make PTSD a workplace illness – Wisconsin News

Sen. Dan Schoen Viewpoint: Fighting to make PTSD a workplace illness – Wisconsin News

That’s why I introduced legislation to make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a workplace illness for first responders. This legislation will help our public safety officials obtain workers’ compensation benefits that have been denied in the past. It is not easy to be diagnosed with PTSD. However, the evidence is beyond clear that PTSD is directly linked to the type of trauma that some of these heroes have been seeing every day for many years.

Over the last year, we’ve worked hard to bring people together to demonstrate the need for this legislation. We presented the PTSD legislation before the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (housed in the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry), which is a group of business and labor leaders that hear workers’ compensation legislation. We had our first meeting on Jan. 11 and a second on Feb. 15 with a third scheduled for April 12, where we expected a vote to take place. During our preparation for the meeting, we were told the April 12 meeting was canceled and PTSD was removed from the agenda. It is my understanding the main obstacle to this legislation was the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, who essentially “killed” the bill.

But that didn’t stop me. Recently, during a Senate debate on workers’ compensation, I offered an amendment to include a provision to ensure PTSD would be classified as a presumptive injury, much in the same way a heart attack or cancer is. A few senators expressed concern with the process, claiming I didn’t go through the proper process of vetting the idea, but I pushed back. I not only went through the proper process, but I know how important this…

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