Kentucky bill aims to expand treatment window for firefighters with PTSD

CINCINNATI (WXIX) – A bill designed to help firefighters treat PTSD was defeated by the Kentucky Senate after unanimous passage at home.

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 She confirms the bill has been temporarily withdrawn, but says it is only being revised and will be reintroduced in the coming days.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

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

“It’s an injury course that happens in their careers,” Terry said. “Usually it is not related to one incident, as people think. Run after run after run and working overtime change their center of fear.”

After her husband’s death, Terri devoted herself to providing first aid for post-traumatic stress disorder. She says it’s not practical to schedule a recovery, which she says the current program is doing. HB 52 aims to address these time constraints.

“For some of these people, it’s a lifetime diagnosis and all we’re asking for is money to continue treating them for a lifetime,” Terry said. “PTSD does not go away within 12 months. It’s like asking a diabetic to fix their sugar problems in 12 months.”

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