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Conn. bill applies worker's comp to mental trauma

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm •  Published: February 28, 2013

Some Republican committee members expressed concern about the broadness of the bill and urged the panel to define terms, such as what should be considered a maiming, and not leave that up to the Worker's Compensation Commission.

"I'm concerned about the language," said Rep. Richard Smith, R-New Fairfield. "In my mind, poor legislation breeds lawsuits and breeds costs to many parties that we don't need to engage in."

The Democratic majority, however, did not agree to make such changes.

Osten said she's confident the Worker's Compensation Commission would be able to determine which instances would qualify as a traumatic incident warranting mental health coverage for the worker who witnessed it.

"Maiming is one of those things that you know about when you see it," she said.

In January, the president of the Newtown police union said 13 officers were directly affected by the Sandy Hook shooting. Some of the officers who responded were so traumatized they weren't working, had to use sick time and risked going without a paycheck.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is characterized by a persistent re-experiencing of the trauma. For some people, treatment is necessary.

Sharkey said legislative leaders are still trying to obtain an actuarial evaluation of how much money would need to be raised for the fund, to be managed by the judicial branch, in order to adequately cover the expenses of the Newtown workers exposed to the shooting. He said some charitable donations have already been made since the shooting to help the first responders.

Legislative leaders are committed to also asking major corporate citizens around Connecticut to help fund the account, he said, stressing that taxpayer money would not be used.