STRENGTH. STABILITY. CERTAINTY.

NEWS


Notes from the May 13th Trustee Meeting

The Trustees met on May 13, 2015 to review issues of importance to Trust members. Below is a recap of the significant issues that were addressed at the meeting:
  • Four new members were added to the Trust, bringing total membership to 86 members representing 2,700 firefighters
  • Year-to-date financials show projected results are better than expected
  • The Trustees unanimously approved renewal credit for voluntary payments made for volunteers and part-time firefighter personnel
  • The Trust continues to proactively look for an additional Trustee to represent a municipality/city department member that serves a population over 30,000 people.
  • Reviewed committee progress in defining “Stressful and Strenuous” in relation to activities commonly and uncommonly performed by fire personnel.
  • Approved a proposal to change the Trust’s fiscal year to run annually from July 1 to June 30 to match the plan coverage year. This will require a vote of members to amend the Trust Agreement at the Member Meeting at the Fire Chief’s Conference in October.
  • Rates remain the same for the July 1 Trust membership renewal. 100% reimbursement for full-time firefighters from DOLA will be available July 1. Applications can be submitted to DOLA prior to July 1, but no payments will be made until after July 1.
  • Renewal update letters to go out to members May 20, 2015 were approved. Members will need to update their firefighter counts and send to the administrator for an invoice to be paid prior to the July 1 effective date.
  • Ideas were discussed on continued state funding beyond 2016 and how we would like to get volunteers added to the funding going forward.
  • The Trust continues to work with Colorado State University to partially fund the development of their Low Cost Mobile Heart Health and Wellness Program.
  • The Trust voted unanimously to institute a Heart & Circulatory system Loss Prevention Grant Program some time after July 1 to offset up to 50% of the cost to pay for a Heart Health and Wellness Program. Funds will be allocated to each member on a per-firefighter basis.
More updates will be posted as they become available.The Trustees met on May 13, 2015 to review issues of importance to Trust members. Below is a recap of the significant issues that were addressed at the meeting: Four new members were added to the Trust, bringing total membership to 86 members representing 2,700 firefighters Year-to-date financials show projected results are better than expected […]

CFH Trust Featured by the Special Districts Association of Colorado

The Special Districts Association of Colorado (SDA) published an article about the Trust in the May issue of SDA News. The text of that article appears below, or you can view the article on their website.

Heart and Circulatory Benefits Trust Provides Cardiac Coverage for Colorado Firefighters

Firefighters are any fire district’s or fire department’s greatest asset. Fire operations managers invest a tremendous amount of time, money and effort ensuring that their firefighters receive training to prepare for countless emergency situations. Despite all this training, firefighters still face many challenges when it comes to their health and well-being.

While most people assume firefighters’ biggest line-of-duty threats come from fires and collapsing buildings, a Harvard study has shown that heart disease is actually the number one killer of on-duty firefighters. The study concluded that this increased risk is intrinsically linked to the firefighters’ emergency response duties.

When a firefighter suffers a major cardiac event, it often leads to disabling conditions that make returning to work difficult given the physical demands of the job. To address this, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 14-172 last year, which requires that fire agencies provide firefighters with coverage for heart or circulatory malfunctions. The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper, also appropriated some funds to help fire agencies provide this coverage to their employees.

In response to this new mandate, the Colorado Firefighter Heart and Circulatory Benefits Trust (CFH Trust) was created as a way for fire agencies to provide this important coverage, easing the human and financial burdens created by cardiac incidents. It was designed with input from the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters, Colorado State Fire Chiefs, the State Division of Insurance, as well as individuals from 15 municipal special districts and fire authorities. The CFH Trust is currently comprised of 85 fire entities and covers more than 3,000 of the state’s firefighters.

The benefits provided by the CFH Trust work in conjunction with existing employer-provided health insurance, disability, and workers’ compensation coverage. Just because a firefighter is off work due to a cardiac event, doesn’t mean their household bills have stopped coming. This benefit helps firefighters cope with the financial cost of a cardiac event when coverage from disability or other sources are not yet available.

The Trust’s next goal is to develop a comprehensive screening process to evaluate the heart health of all firefighters throughout Colorado. “Our goal is to set up a program that helps firefighters manage their own heart health. This will inform them of potential issues, and improve not just their odds of avoiding contracting a serious heart condition, but their overall quality of life as well,” said Joe DePaepe, Trust Administrator.

DePaepe says that every firefighter who responds to an emergency is critical to the safety and success of the operation. This is especially true in rural areas, where fire services often rely on a very limited number of volunteers. If time and attention is diverted from an emergency because a firefighter has been disabled due to a preventable medical condition, everyone’s safety is compromised.

“A proactive heart health program would additionally improve safety for firefighters and the community by reducing the likelihood that a firefighter may suffer an incident in a crucial moment,” said DePaepe.

Tiffany Lipsey, the Assistant Director of the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory at CSU, is working on developing a portable basic heart assessment and lifestyle wellness program that can be delivered anywhere in the State of Colorado. The program is being made possible with grant funding, in part from the CFH Trust.

“For groups or departments with at least 24 employees, our aim is to deliver these tests for just $100 or less per participating firefighter,” said Lipsey. “Smaller agencies and departments in more rural areas are encouraged to band together with other departments to reach the minimum headcount.”

The CFH Trust is also building a Loss Prevention strategy that will support rural and metropolitan fire departments alike. The Trust is currently examining the feasibility of establishing a heart health assessment grant program in 2015 and 2016. Funding for the program would come from Trust contributions and be allocated per firefighter currently enrolled in the Trust. This funding could be used by departments to put their highest risk firefighters through the CSU Heart Disease Prevention Program or a similar program of their choice.

“Very few rural districts and departments are able to comply with the National Fire Protection Association’s standards for heart health. We’d like to change that. We believe that meeting these standards is the most effective way to reduce line-of-duty heart incidents,” said DePaepe.
The Special Districts Association of Colorado (SDA) published an article about the Trust in the May issue of SDA News. The text of that article appears below, or you can view the article on their website. Heart and Circulatory Benefits Trust Provides Cardiac Coverage for Colorado Firefighters Firefighters are any fire district’s or fire department’s […]

Quick and Easy Chicken Chili

This Simple Cooking with Heart recipe from the American Heart Association provides a tasty twist on traditional chili, substituting chicken for ground beef. It’s easy (and healthy) to make in a hurry!

 Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, all visible fat discarded OR 1 lb. ground white meat chicken or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, minced OR
  • 2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth OR 1 16- oz. canned, fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 15.5- oz. canned, no-salt-added or low-sodium beans (mix or match pinto, red, kidney or navy), drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (optional)
  • 1 medium chopped jalapeño (optional if you like spicy chili)
  • fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free sour cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Remove visible fat from chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Spray large pot with cooking spray. Add chicken, onion, garlic, chili powder (optional) or jalapeno (optional) cooking over medium-heat until chicken is no longer pink (about 7 minutes)
  3. Lightly mash the drained, rinsed beans with a fork.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients to chicken mixture and simmer on high for 10 minutes.
  5. Spoon chili into bowls and top with chopped fresh cilantro and/or dollop of sour cream (optional)

Budget Tip

When buying chicken, tenderloins are often less expensive than breasts – in recipes like this one where you cut the chicken into bit-size pieces the cut makes no difference so pick whatever’s cheaper! Be sure to check for specials or sales.

This Simple Cooking with Heart recipe from the American Heart Association provides a tasty twist on traditional chili, substituting chicken for ground beef. It’s easy (and healthy) to make in a hurry!  Ingredients 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, all visible fat discarded OR 1 lb. ground white meat chicken or turkey 1 […]

Assessing the Risk for the Leading Cause of On-Duty Death in Firefighters

Tiffany Lipsey, Assistant Director of the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory at Colorado State University’s School of Health and Exercise Science recently gave a presentation to the Trust’s board. We wanted to share Tiffany’s excellent presentation with Trust members, so we encourage you to check out her presentation. Click below to see a PDF full of highly relevant and useful information for fire departments of any size.

Heart Disease Prevention Program & Firefighter Testing: Assessing the Risk for the Leading Cause of On-Duty Death in Firefighters

Tiffany Lipsey, Assistant Director of the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory at Colorado State University’s School of Health and Exercise Science recently gave a presentation to the Trust’s board. We wanted to share Tiffany’s excellent presentation with Trust members, so we encourage you to check out her presentation. Click below to see a PDF full of […]

Letter Sent to Prospective Trust Members

Earlier this week, we sent letters and emails to more than 60 fire operations encouraging them to join the CFH Trust and to help support our efforts to bring low cost heart assessments and lifestyle wellness programs to rural Colorado through the Trust’s financial support of the CSU Heart Disease Prevention Program. Here is a PDF copy of what these prospective members  received from us, and the text of the letter is also included below:

Dear Chief,

You have an $80,000+ Liability and We Offer an Extra Measure of Protection for Your Firefighters.

There are approximately 84 million people in the United States who are currently suffering from some form of cardiovascular disease, and each year, more than 610,000 Americans die from heart disease. While most people assume firefighters’ biggest line-of-duty threats come from fires and collapsing buildings, a Harvard study has shown that heart disease is the number one killer of on-duty firefighters. The study concluded that this increased risk is definitely linked to their emergency response duties.

When a firefighter suffers a heart attack or other significant cardiac event, it often leads to disabling conditions that make returning to work especially difficult given the physical demands of the job. To address such concerns, the Colorado General Assembly passed a law requiring fire departments to provide supplemental benefits for full time firefighters who suffer a disabling cardiac event.

In response, the Colorado Firefighter Heart and Circulatory Benefits Trust formed from a coalition of 75 fire agencies. These agencies realized that just because a firefighter isn’t able to work doesn’t mean his or her bills stop coming. The Trust’s 3,000-plus firefighters are now eligible to receive compensation if their heart health becomes compromised while on duty.

The General Assembly set up additional funding to allow fire departments to provide this coverage to their full time firefighters without impacting their budgets. The state is currently issuing full reimbursements on coverage for qualifying firefighters directly from DOLA, with any unused funding set to expire at the end of June.

The Trust’s mission is to give firefighters a lifeline in a time of tremendous crisis. We are also working to help prevent severe line-of-duty cardiac incidents from occurring. By providing health and wellness programs that will help detect problems early, we are better enabling firefighters to take control of their health and prevent these damaging events before they can happen.

If you employ fulltime firefighters and are not a member of the CFH Trust, then you do have a significant liability that you are not covered for. Even if you have a standard Accident, Health or Disability policy, you are still subject to a minimum of $80,000 in uncovered liabilities that has not likely been disclosed to you.

Covering your fulltime firefighters through the CFH Trust costs just $175 per firefighter, with these expenses 100% reimbursable by DOLA. Covering volunteers (while not a statutory requirement, nor is it reimbursable) is also available for just $150 each. Why expose yourself to the risk of unfunded and undisclosed liabilities when you can be fully covered at no net cost to your department?

Furthermore, your participation in the Trust will help support bringing low cost heart assessments and lifestyle wellness programs to rural Colorado through the CFH Trust’s financial support of the CSU Heart Disease Prevention Program. We feel that simply providing coverage after the fact is not enough, and that efforts and resources should go into assessment and treatment options before line-of-duty heart failure can occur.

There is currently $150,000 in remaining 2015 funds available to Colorado fire departments. By joining the CFH Trust, you will be helping firefighters throughout the state avoid suffering a debilitating or even fatal cardiac event while on duty.

For more information about CSU’s Heart Disease Prevention Program, please visit www.hes.chhs.colostate.edu/outreach/hdpp/. For more information about the Trust, the DOLA reimbursement program, or how we are working to help promote the health of firefighters across Colorado, please call us toll-free at 844-769-6650, email members of our staff, or visit our website at cfhtrust.com.

Sincerely,

CFH Trust Administrators
Joe DePaepe – [email protected]
Jenniffer Alvarado – [email protected]
Lei Shi – [email protected]Earlier this week, we sent letters and emails to more than 60 fire operations encouraging them to join the CFH Trust and to help support our efforts to bring low cost heart assessments and lifestyle wellness programs to rural Colorado through the Trust’s financial support of the CSU Heart Disease Prevention Program. Here is a PDF […]