House passes Rep. Graham’s PTSD bill for firefighters and others

'We need to make it easier for them to come forward and get the help they need,' says Graham

OLYMPIA…Legislation to protect the privacy records of workers filing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other industrial insurance claims from unnecessary exposure passed the state House of Representatives today.

Rep. Jenny Graham, R-Spokane and prime sponsor of the measure, said the impetus for the bill came from conversations she's had with firefighters and the issues they face.

“It is imperative to protect firefighters and other first responders who deal with dangerous, violent and traumatic situations on a daily basis,” said Graham. “They continually protect and support us when we're in crisis. Well, they're in crisis now and we need to protect and support them.”

Graham's proposal, House Bill 1909, requires a fine for any employer who releases information in a claim file regarding a mental health condition or treatment to any unauthorized person.

“The last thing we want is for our firefighters, first responders or any other worker to delay coming forward with mental health concerns because they question the confidentiality of their information or situation,” said Graham. “We need to make it easier for them to come forward and get the help they need. And we need to show workers across the state that we take mental health issues seriously, and we take their private information seriously.”

Graham's bill, her first to pass the House of Representatives, had bipartisan support and was unanimously approved. It now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

The 105-day 2019 legislative session is scheduled to end April 28.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov