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First Responders to have PTSD Medical Care covered under Bipartisan Bill

TULSA, Oklahoma — A bipartisan bill allowing first responders to get free medical care for PTSD diagnosis was passed by Oklahoma lawmakers.

Although he is happy that the state enacted Senate Bill 1457, Matt Lay, President of Tulsa Firefighters Union Local 176, said that mental health concerns are more difficult to identify, particularly in those whose responsibility it is to serve and protect.

Lay said that in the event that a police officer or fireman breaks their leg, “you got an x-ray and there’s treatment options, injury benefits, things like that.” “This kind of thing is far, way harder.

Many Oklahoma Highway Patrol members also have personal experience with mental trauma; OHP Trooper and veteran Matthew Krupczyk is one such example.

Many of my friends have traveled abroad and had PTSD. Tpr. Krupczyk stated, “My brother works for the VA at the PTSD center in Buffalo. “As for me personally, I do support anything that will aid those who are suffering from PTSD. There cannot be anyone out there who opposes mental health.

Providers such as Oklahoma First Responders Wellness Division and First Responders Support Services are available to large-sized Oklahoma agencies. But unlike physical damage, there has never been reimbursement for therapy for confirmed PTSD.

The legislature of Oklahoma has attempted to enact almost identical measures in the past but for a variety of reasons such attempts have failed. The Oklahoma Senate passed SB1457 with a unanimous vote on May 2.

Chairman of the State Fraternal Order of Police, Mark Nelson, claimed that if Governor Kevin Stitt signs the measure, lives will be saved.

The federal government now recognizes an officer’s suicide as a death in the line of duty. Thus, there is much to be explored in relation to this, but this is a fantastic beginning,” Nelson stated.

Despite the implications for his allies, Lay expressed his hope to be standing next to Governor Sitt upon the bill’s signing.

Lay stated, “It is worth doing anything to get these men and women access to treatment options.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues, give 988 a try or go through the options on this page.

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