Support Health Care for Wisconsin Police Officers, Fire Fighters and EMTs

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Every day, we in Wisconsin call on police officers and fire fighters to arrive immediately for situations we find too dangerous or unpredictable to deal with on our own.   When these first responders arrive, we expect them to be healthy, reasonable and effective in how they perform but how can we ask this of them when, as a state, we refuse to accommodate their healthcare needs as determined by their work conditions?  They are human and, like all humans, will suffer mentally and physically from repeated exposure to trauma, but Wisconsin laws don't seem to take that into account.

Wisconsin’s First Responders deserve full coverage for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment through workers compensation whether or not the symptoms are the result of an extreme event or the day-to-day work.

Traumatic events police officers encounter on a day-to-day basis include: 

  • handling severely injured or deceased people including babies
  • violent interactions
  • racing through red lights
  • inspecting abandoned buildings
  • the anticipation of danger

These stressful events are unavoidable for officers and they take a toll.  
Among other alarming byproducts, PTSD increases suicide risk, and the rate of suicide among police officers is far higher than the national average.

Over a 3.5 year period from January of 2016 to June of 2019:

  • 103 officers were killed by felony assault (Officer Down)
  • 578 officers took their own lives. (Blue Help) 

Today, Wisconsin law prevents most officers and fire fighters with PTSD due to day-to-day stress from receiving needed assistance by failing to compensate them. 

Senate Bill 511/Assembly Bill 569 can change that.  It states the following:
"The bill provides that if a public safety officer is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist and the mental injury that resulted in that diagnosis is not accompanied by a physical injury, that public safety officer can bring a claim for worker’s compensation benefits if the conditions of liability are proven by a preponderance of the evidence and the mental injury is not the result of a good-faith employment action by the person’s employer. Under the bill, such an injured public safety employee is not required to demonstrate a diagnosis based on unusual stress of greater dimensions than the day-to-day emotional strain and tension experienced by similarly situated employees as required under School District No. 1 v. DILHR, 62 Wis. 2d 370, 215 N.W.2d 373 (1974).
Wisconsin must meet the demand for police and fire healthcare so that they may do their jobs safely and in optimal health.  Please join us in urging our State Legislature to vote for Senate Bill 511/Assembly Bill 569, sign this petition and share it!