AN ACT PROVIDING THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, FIREFIGHTERS, 911 DISPATCHERS, AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SERVICES PERSONNEL ARE ENTITLED TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA UNDER SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES.
Amends GS 97-53 to add the following applicable when determining eligibility of a first responder to get workers' compensation benefits under Article 1 of GS Chapter 97. Defines first responder to mean a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, a 911 dispatcher, or an emergency medical technician or paramedic employed by the State or a local government; also includes a volunteer firefighter meeting the specified requirements. Makes posttraumatic stress disorder suffered by a first responder without any other injury a compensable occupational disease that arises out of employment as a first responder and arises out of injuries that are characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation, process, or employment if (1) the posttraumatic stress disorder is a result of the first responder acting within the course of his or her employment and (2) the first responder is examined and subsequently diagnosed with the disorder by a licensed psychiatrist or licensed psychologist who establishes within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the disorder is a result of employment activities. Requires the disorder to be demonstrated by a preponderance of medical evidence demonstrated by a licensed psychiatrist or licensed psychologist. Requires first responder employing agencies to provide training related to mental health awareness, prevention, mitigation, and treatment. Effective July 1, 2021.
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