Breast Cancer Now Covered by the Colorado Firefighter Trust

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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].