PTSD Presumption Bill Passes the Tennessee House and Senate

In 2020, 22-year veteran James “Dustin” Samples succumbed to post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

To honor his memory and his service as a firefighter in Cleveland, TN, the Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association (TPFFA) lobbied powerfully for the passing of legislation to create a PTSD presumption bill for firefighters. 

The new presumption allows firefighters to access workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD.

To qualify for benefits, the firefighter must be diagnosed with PTSD by a mental health professional.

Additionally, the condition must be a result of one of the following:

  • Directly witnessing the death of a minor or treating a minor for injuries for which they died; before or when arriving at a hospital’s emergency department.
  • Directly witnessing a death from such serious injuries that shocks the conscience.
  • Responding to an event where there’s someone with a serious bodily injury that shocks the conscience.
  • Responding to an event where the co-worker of a responder, the family member of a responder, or a responder sustained a serious injury or died.

The James “Dustin” Samples Act presumes PTSD as a work-related injury while also creating grant programs for employers. These grants help employers cover the cost of workers’ PTSD compensation claims.

To qualify for the grant, employers must offer mental health resiliency training as part of their education programs. 

What the James “Dustin” Samples Act Means for Insurers

With The James “Dustin” Samples Act insurers will have to adjust workers’ compensation services.

You will have to verify the validity of claims, including whether the person was diagnosed with PTSD by a mental health professional and whether the traumatic event fits within the scope of the law.

Something important to remember is that the act limits the application of the presumption to those who receive PTSD diagnoses within one year of their final day of employment.

How We Can Help

At Reliable Review Services, we provide review services to ensure that the right people are getting the right compensation. We employ state guidelines, current medical literature, and disability regulations to provide peer-reviewed reports that meet strict turnaround requirements as well as standards of quality.

In addition, our workers’ compensation services include assessing medical necessity, as well as performing initial reviews and appeals. We also offer causation reviews and early compensability assessments (ECA), which we complete right after the incident is reported.

Turning to Reliable Review Services

As an insurer, you want the most accurate information on each claimant. By turning to us at Reliable Review Services, you can get the answers you need, even when dealing with this new Tennessee workers’ compensation bill effective 1/1/2024.

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