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Proposed bill would ensure proper PTSD care for Tennessee firefighters, EMS responders

Proposed bill would ensure proper PTSD care for Tennessee firefighters, EMS responders. (Image: MGN)

A bill making its way through the Tennessee legislature would ensure firefighters and EMS responders receive quality PTSD care.

Senior Chattanooga firefighter Jack Thompson says it's not about the lack of options for firefighters, it's the lack of training for therapists.

He says this bill would ensure healthcare professionals know how to talk to firefighters about specific problems they face.

Thompson says some Chattanooga firefighters have sought help, and been turned away by therapists.

"Some out there, they don't really know who we are or how we operate," Thompson said. "We've had several people go to seek help, but the therapist was like, 'yeah, I really don't need to talk to you because I'm starting to have issues."

Right now, the city of Chattanooga covers six therapy visits a year, but Thompson says the professionals need more specific training.

When asked about the care in connection to the deadly school bus accident in Chattanooga in November 2016, Thompson said, "The Woodmore bus accident, it's necessarily not the extrication portion of it. It's the victims we're going to help. The things that those firefighters saw that day, that's going to stick with them for a while."

The bill has passed several committees, and has a few more before a full House and Senate vote.

It's received favorable votes so far.

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