Legislation would give Washington nurses access to PTSD care

As healthcare workers are increasingly exposed to traumatic events, newly proposed legislation in Washington state would allow coverage for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, the Seattle Times reported March 6. 

"Senate Bill 5454, would provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for nurses with post-traumatic stress disorders, similar to a 2018 law that allows PTSD worker's comp coverage for police and firefighters," according to the Seattle Times

"Converging data suggest a high risk for PTSD development among emergency [healthcare workers]," a 2020 study examining the mental health impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers found. 

The Washington Hospital Association reportedly suggested an amendment to the bill that would "include insurance coverage only for nurses in the emergency department, ICU and flight nurses that cared for patients during the pandemic." 

Some say the extended mental health coverage would improve nurse retention, but others aren't so sure. 

Ada Van Landingham, who made the switch from being a staff nurse to a travel nurse for better pay to be able to take the time she needed to decompress, told the Seattle Times  the compensation coverage proposed in the bill "would be nice" but she still "doesn't know if it would have been enough to keep her as a staff nurse."

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