STRENGTH. STABILITY. CERTAINTY.

NEWS


Breast Cancer Now Covered by the Colorado Firefighter Trust

The Colorado Firefighter Heart and Cancer Benefits (CFHC) Trust Committee voted unanimously to add breast cancer coverage for all firefighters beginning January 1, 2021. The discussion around the adoption of breast cancer began after a firefighter appealed the denial of a breast cancer claim. Previously, breast cancer was not one of the five types of cancer covered by the Trust’s program. Through the determined work of Ms. Tracy Post supported by local 2889, Colorado Professional Firefighters and the work of Dr. Weaver, of John Hopkins University working with the IAFF consulted with the CFHC Trust. The committee reviewed numerous cancer studies and solicited multiple expert opinions. The industry typically requires overwhelming amounts of research in substantial quantity and duration in order to substantiate a direct causal relationship to endorse a coverage addition. While that amount of research is not yet available, the Trust Committee, felt they should act now.


The CFHC Trust has the statutory authority to expand its coverage in situations where the committee is able to reasonably determine that other cancers should be included. In this case, the committee weighed “statistical credibility” against the numerous small case studies that suggest a relationship between breast cancer and the fire service.


Mike Frainier, President of the Colorado Professional Firefighters and member of the CFHC Trust Committee stated that, “the addition of breast cancer represents the Trustees’ acknowledgment of a growing trend of well documented, smaller studies. We believe that research suggests the direction larger statistically credible studies will go.”


With this decision, the committee also seeks to maximize inclusivity in Colorado’s fire service by recognizing that over the past several decades the percentage of female firefighters has risen from 2% to 7%. While the data may not be relevant scientifically, the Trust Committee felt it was a leading indicator pointing toward greater gender diversity in the future.


The Trust Committee consists of four fire chiefs, one representative from the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters, two HR professionals, one risk manager, and one public official comprising four women and five men. The CFHC Trust was formed under Part 4 of Article 5 of Title 29, Colorado Revised Statutes, and allows participating fire organizations to opt out of the presumption of cancer for workers’ compensation. To date the Trust has approved roughly 95% of the claims covering the brain, digestive, genitourinary, hematological, and skin cancers.


About the CHFC Trust


The Colorado Firefighter Heart and Cancer Benefits Trust was created to aid the state’s fire professionals and agencies contain the human and financial burdens created by serious health issues by providing mandated cardiac and voluntary cancer benefits to the state’s firefighters.


The Trust program was designed with input from the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters, Colorado State Fire Chiefs, the state Division of Insurance, as well as individuals from municipal, county, and special district fire agencies. For more information, contact [email protected].

Annual Membership Meeting Slated for October 28th

The 6th Annual CFHC Trust Membership Meeting will be held virtually via WexEx on October 28 at 11:00 am MDT. To join us, just follow this link at the time of the meeting.

If you would like to join via phone-only, call-in using the following information:
  • Dial-in Number: 866-692-3580
  • Access Code: 130 504 2351
You can review all associated documents by clicking here. If you plan not to attend, make sure to fill out a proxy form and return it to via email us by October 16. For any questions, please email [email protected]

Grant Funds Expiration Date Postponed

Like many of you, we have been monitoring the rapidly developing issues surrounding COVID-19. The Trust is committed to doing the best to help your department.

We are working to build flexibility into our programs to help you cope with this crisis. As you know, the Firefighter Heart and Fitness Grant funds that remain unused after three years are lost. For any department losing funds this year, we have postponed the expiration date of those funds to December 31 to allow additional time and flexibility to schedule heart screenings this year. If you are among one of the departments losing funds, a member of your staff will have received an email stating so.

As a reminder, Firefighter Heart and Fitness Grant funds can be used to provide reimbursement for CSU’s CORE program or a similar basic level of heart health testing. Full program details, including the online reimbursement applications, can be found on our website.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

TargetSolutions’ All-New Course Release Focuses on Firefighter Cancer Prevention

TargetSolutions’ all-new course, NFPA 1851: Cancer-Related Risks of Firefighting, raises awareness of leading causes of cancer in the fire service and instructs personnel on firefighter cancer prevention measures.

Despite the inherent dangers that come with the job of fighting fires and saving lives from critical situations, cancer remains one of the leading causes of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service. This silent killer has been linked to specific carcinogenic agents and was proven to lurk in unexpected places, such as firefighters’ own personal protective equipment (PPE).

To help reduce the cancer risks of firefighting, TargetSolutions is proud to release an all-new course for the fire service: NFPA 1851 – Cancer-Related Risks of Firefighting.

“TargetSolutions recognizes just how serious of an issue this is for today’s fire service,” said Marc Scheipe, who serves as TargetSolutions’ executive vice president. “With that understanding comes a responsibility to create training courses that can make a difference. This course outlines the importance of care and cleaning for turnout gear, how to maintain and inspect PPE (personal protective equipment), and best practices for decontamination, isolation, and reporting of equipment-related issues. The course goes a long way to educate fire service members on how they can mitigate risk.”

Course Overview

Based on the 2014 NFPA standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, NFPA 1851 – Cancer-Related Risks of Firefighting delivers valuable lessons in firefighter cancer prevention. This two-hour course was authored by fire service instructor and subject matter expert, Paul Costello, who details current information regarding firefighter cancer risks and explains important measures in ensuring safety.

Course Objectives

After completing TargetSolutions’ NFPA 1851 course, personnel will be able to achieve the following:

  • Interpret important terminology as it relates to the NFPA 1851 Standard
  • Explain how protective ensembles interfaces intersect with organs and the lymphatic system
  • Explain how protective ensembles interfaces intersect with organs and the lymphatic system
  • Recognize known carcinogenic agents and cancers associated with the fire service industry
  • Employ best practices to reduce the risk of occupationally-related cancers
  • Comprehend current legislation as it relates to fire-service-cancer diseases and diagnoses

These important topics are covered in 13, video-driven lessons and are guided by an in-course instructor. To ensure personnel can employ these best practices, frequent in-course quizzes and an end-of-course exam test for comprehension.

“Collectively, professionally, we’ve known that there was a correlation between firefighting and cancer for many years. This intrinsic knowledge that the profession has harbored is based on our own observations and losses to cancers at rates that seemed higher than those experienced outside of the fire service,” Costello said. “In the last few years, the data has become increasingly clearer, not only validating the correlation to firefighting, but in many instances the causation of several cancers as well.”

Originally published here.

What Happens to Our Firefighters

Here’s a hypothetical story. A firefighter has been diagnosed with brain cancer. He has been in the fire service for over twenty years, and after receiving that terrible news, seeks workers’ compensation benefits to help cover the mounting costs of his medication, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

What the firefighter and his family don’t realize is how long it can take for a decision to be made regarding whether his claim is accepted or denied. The investigation alone can delay the process for months as the firefighter is asked invasive questions about his family history, employment background, lifestyle, previous home addresses, and medical history. Even if an administrative law judge reaches a decision, the firefighter’s case could still end up going back and forth for years.

Unfortunately, there have been numerous real world cases in which firefighters have gone through this exhausting process only to be denied benefits. Even worse, there have been cases in which injured firefighters have passed away before a final decision was reached. Not only does this affect the firefighter, it also places the financial burden on the surviving family. This is the primary reason why the CFHC Trust created our Cancer Program.

The Trust strives to deliver payouts within 10 days of confirmation of a diagnosed cancer. That means the firefighter in our story would have received a cash payment based on the type and stage of his brain cancer, because it is one of the five covered cancers. There would have been no interrogation by insurance adjusters, no months and months of delay. He and his family could focus on what matters most—fighting his cancer and healing, so that he can get back to life and back to work.

Fire departments in Colorado now have the opportunity to provide their firefighters with stability and certainty in those difficult times. That alone can help improve morale and department cohesion. Right now, many workers’ compensation providers are giving fire departments financial incentive to join the Cancer Program. These include Pinnacol Assurance and the Colorado Special Districts Pool. For more information on their programs contact your workers’ compensation provider.

If you’d like to chat with us about getting started with the Cancer Program, click here to request a quote or feel free to contact us.