The Professional Firefighters of South Carolina has discontinued Legislative Bill 4147 (A Workman's Comp Bill) and has collaborated with South Carolina Firefighters Association and the South Carolina Fire Chiefs Association with the Professional Firefighters of South Carolina taking the lead creating the South Carolina Cancer Coalition. The committee has created bill S1071 and H5139. A summery of the new "health-care bill" is below.
On February 4th, 2020 a bill has been submitted to the SC Senate, S1071. Another bill H5139 was introduced February 12th, 2020 for the SC House.
We are happy to be apart of this historic bill!
“FIREFIGHTER CANCER HEALTH CARE BENEFIT PLAN”
The “Firefighter Cancer Health Care Benefit Plan” is a supplemental insurance policy and will; upon a diagnosis of cancer, a firefighter is entitled to the following benefits, if a firefighter has been in a South Carolina Fire Department for at least 5(five) continuous years and within 10(ten) years of last date of active service.
Reimburse up to $12,000 annually to the firefighter for any out of pocket expenses to include but not limited to; deductibles, copayments, or coinsurances costs incurred
A benefit of $20,000 upon the firefighter’s diagnosis as defined, not to exceed 1 benefit payment per calendar year. Additional benefit available upon 12-month remission and separate diagnosis.
A $75,000 death benefit for a firefighter who dies as a result of cancer or circumstances
A firefighter that dies as a result of cancer or circumstances the arise of treatment are
considered to have died in the line of duty.
Who is Covered?
“Fire Department” means any organization providing rescue, fire suppression, and related activities including any public or government sponsored organizations engaged in rescue, fire suppression, and related activities 40-80-10(b)(4)
“Firefighter” 40-80-10(5) means any person, male or female, paid or unpaid, who engages in rescue, fire suppression, or related activities under the supervision of a fire chief or fire department.
What Cancers are Covered?
“Cancer” includes malignant neoplasms of the following body areas and organ systems:
Central / Peripheral Nervous System
• Solid Organ / Endocrine
• Genitourinary / Male Reproductive • GYN
• Skin / Soft Tissue / Breast
• Bone / Blood
S1071 & H5139
"The Firefighter Cancer Healthcare Benefit Plan"
UPDATE: October 7th, 2020
The S1071 Firefighter Cancer Benefit Plan is now Act 168 effective 7/1/2021.
UPDATE: September 29th, 2020
The S1071 Firefighter Cancer Benefit Plan has been ratified and signed by Governor Henry McMaster. We have one more hurtle which is funding will come in the 2021 budget.
UPDATE: September 23rd, 2020 (Evening)
The S1071 Firefighter Cancer Benefit Plan has traveled back to the senate. The senate approved the bill with little changes. It will now move to ratification then the governors desk for a signature.
UPDATE: September 23rd, 2020 (Morning)
The S1071 Firefighter Cancer Benefit Plan has passed the third and final reading in the Full SC House. It will make its way back to the senate then ratification and then presented to the governor for signature. The bill is still moving forward!
UPDATE: September 22nd, 2020
The Firefighter Cancer Benefit Plan has passed the second reading in the Full SC House. It will need a third reading to move forward which will be tomorrow September 23rd, 2020. It will then go to the Senate then to the Governors Desk for signature. We have very little time and a small window of hope. Lets make it across the finish line.
UPDATE: September 15th, 2020
H5147 has PASSED the SC House LCI Full Committee. It will head to FULL SC HOUSE (September 16th, 2020).
UPDATE: September 14th, 2020
H5147 has PASSED the SC House LCI Sub-Committee. It will head to FULL SC HOUSE LCI Committee (September 15th, 2020).
UPDATE: From May to September 2020
COVID-19 has disrupted any progress on the bill.
UPDATE: May 13th, 2020
BREAKING NEWS: Senate Read third time, PASSED and sent to House
UPDATE: May 12th, 2020
Senate Committee Amendment Adopted
Senate Read second time
Senate Roll call Ayes-37 Nays-0
Senate Unanimous consent for third reading on next legislative day.
UPDATE: March11th, 2020
S1071 has passed the senate committee and will be moving forward to full senate.
Firefighter Cancer Healthcare Plan moving forward!
UPDATE: February 12th, 2020
WE NOW HAVE DUAL BILLS in the State House!
TODAY S.1071 (Firefighter Cancer Health Care Benefit Plan) has left the SC Senate subcommittee and will be moving forward to full committee!
Simultaneously H.5139 was introduced to the SC House. The Bills are on the move!
Thank You for the support and now let’s get it through the house and senate so it can be placed on the governors desk!
UPDATE: February 5th, 2020
It’s with great excitement that the Midway Professional Firefighters Association, Local 3617 as a member of the Professional Fire Fighters Association of South Carolina (PFFASC) would like to announce the advancement of the South Carolina Fire Fighter Cancer Bill within the South Carolina State Senate.
Since the first introduction of the bill in May 2019, the PFFASC, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), partnered lobbyist, and key state senators have been working diligently to fine-tune and prepare the South Carolina Firefighter Cancer Bill for its reintroduction to the State Senate.
Yesterday, February 4, 2020 Senator Thomas Alexander (R) of Oconee County introduced South Carolina Senate Bill 1071 (S1071). S1071 would add a ‘Firefighter Cancer Health Care Benefit Plan’ to provide a supplemental insurance policy upon a firefighter being diagnosed with cancer.
South Carolina is still one of two states that doesn't have any type of cancer presumption for fire fighters. Please call your state representative and ask them to co-sponsor SC Senate Bill 1071.
South Carolina isn't LAST in a Cancer Presumptive Law!
Firefighters and Cancer
Firefighting is a dangerous profession, and a growing body of research and data shows the contributions that job-related exposures have in chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently undertook two large studies focused on firefighter cancer and concluded that firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S.
Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control
It is well understood that firefighters are exposed to contaminants, those contaminants soil firefighter PPE, and the soiled PPE cross-contaminates everything it comes in contact with. As a consequence, turnout clothing is being cleaned more frequently; however, it is still not known if current or new cleaning procedures adequately remove such contaminants from PPE.
The NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation's project, "Validation of Cleaning Procedures for Fire Fighter Personal Protective Equipment" is borne out of concerns from the fire service stakeholder community for contamination that may adversely impact long term health and wellness. The fundamental questions being asked are “How clean is clean?” and “How do I know my gear is clean?”
On July 7, 2018, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931) was was signed by the president and became public law. This bill requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a voluntary registry of firefighters to collect history and occupational information that can be linked to existing data in state cancer registries. The registry must be used to improve monitoring of cancer among firefighters and to collect and publish epidemiological information regarding cancer among firefighters. H.R. 931 was introduced on February 7, 2017 by U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) and 186 co-sponsors.
SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATION
Currently, South Carolina only recognizes Heart and Lung Disease for Professional Firefighters. In North America, only two states are left without a Cancer Presumption Act (South Carolina, Delaware) this also includes provinces in Canada.
We need to pass a Cancer Presumptive Act in South Carolina! Don't let us be last! Firefighters are risking their lives everyday along with dying everyday from occupational cancers. While we know this bill isn't perfect, it is a start to getting our firefighters protected in the means of cancer. Currently, other bills will come after the cancer bill is passed that include an infectious disease act along with a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder act.
Statistics: In the Southeast (FLA, NC, SC, GA, TENN, PR) of the United States, LODD deaths totaled 18 in 2018.
-10 were Occupational Cancer Deaths (55%)
-4 were Cardiac Related Deaths (22%)
-3 were PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) (16%)
-1 was Undetermined (.5%)