PTSD Injuries in Claims Filed by First Responders and Others: A Success Story to be Duplicated? Practical Ways in Which These Claims are Considered

3:15 – 4:15 pm

Crystal Ballroom J1
Convention Level

Probably the most debated presumption claims for first responders, fire- fighters, and others relates to the economic effect of mental health claims, particularly those related to PTSD. Horrendous situations occur routinely for these employees and concerns have been expressed by many as to the projected costs associated with the potential payment of substantially increased workers’ compensation benefits. One “lesson learned” involved a state that has had a PTSD presumption in place for over 5 years. Following the passage of their PTSD presumption bill, that state did see an increase in the number of claims filed. However, the percentage of claims filed resulting in payments decreased. The results of these studies can well be, at least in part, a “road map” to follow in considering these types of claims.

The experts on this panel are uniquely qualified to discuss the complex mental health challenges that first responders, firefighters, and others face. Each panelist has years of clinical experience treating these employees and training public entity employers and others on best practices when it comes to mental health. Given the mental health crisis the entire nation is experiencing in the aftermath of the pandemic, and the additional challenges faced by all employees as a result, this discussion will be both informative and timely, even for workers that are not deemed to have been diagnosed as having PTSD but are suffering from mental health issues.

Paul Sighinolfi, Attorney
Senior Managing Director, Ametros
Former Executive Director and Chairman
Maine Workers’ Compensation Board
Burlington, MA

Katherine Kuhlman, PsyD, ABPP, CCTP
Kuhlman Psychology & Consulting, PLLC
Clinical/Police and Public Safety Psychologist
Alium Health
Behavioral Health Director
Scottsdale, AZ

Molly Jones, LSW
Clinical Education Coordinator
IAFF Center of Excellence
Advanced Recovery Systems
Orlando, FL

Kelly Savage
Community Outreach Director
IAFF Center of Excellence
Advanced Recovery Systems
Orlando, FL

Brandi Benson, PsyD
Clinical Psychologist
Tampa Bay Psychology Associates
Behavioral Health and Wellness for First Responders
Clearwater, FL


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