Inslee signs bill making sure first responders get treatment for job-related PTSD, other ailments

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Tuesday making sure things like job-related PTSD or cancer among firefighters and paramedics will be covered by insurance.

Back in 2021, KIRO 7 spoke with Olympia firefighter and paramedic Lance Slosson after he was diagnosed with severe PTSD. Lance was on duty when a 911 emergency called him to a car crash.

Lance’s own brother was ejected from a vehicle in that crash and he died in Lance’s arms.

The city of Olympia fought insurance claims to pay for treatment that doctors said he needed. Because Olympia and many other local cities are self-insured, they’re trying to save money, and Lance heard from a lot of other firefighters and paramedics who were getting pushback when they needed treatment.

Lawmakers paid attention to Lance’s story, noting the high suicide rate for first responders.

House Bill 1521 was signed into law Tuesday, making it illegal for cities to deny legitimate worker claims for treatment. “It’s so the next guy doesn’t have to go through as many hurdles and roadblocks to get the help they need,” Lance said.

Lance eventually got the inpatient treatment he needed at a top-notch facility just for first responders and is now back on the job.