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CFHC Trust Adds Thyroid Cancer Coverage


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13 July, 2022 08:15:05

THYROID CANCER NOW COVERED BY THE COLORADO FIREFIGHTER HEART AND CANCER BENEFITS TRUST
Program addition is a win-win for firefighters and employers addressing cancer risk in the fire service

Denver, Colorado – July 7, 2022 – The Colorado Firefighter Heart and Cancer Benefits (CFHC) Trust Committee voted to add thyroid cancer coverage for all firefighters beginning July 1, 2022. In 2020, the Colorado Firefighter Heart and Cancer Benefits Trust (Trust) considered research on thyroid cancer. At that time, the conclusion was that there was not sufficient scientifically creditable data to add coverage for this type of cancer. However, three claims were filed in three years for thyroid cancer, something the CFHC Trust was not expecting as normally there is one about every 10 years.

With recent studies showing both male and female firefighters at a higher risk for thyroid cancer, likely due to poor sleep and working with endocrine disrupting chemicals, member feedback was sought as to whether to include thyroid cancer in the Trust. From the survey that was sent to members, there were 44 out of 46 total responses supporting the addition of thyroid cancer coverage, representing 55% of participating members. Supporters came from a wide range of fire department sizes ranging from small departments with five or fewer firefighters to large departments having over 100 firefighters. In total, responses represent approximately 1,724 eligible firefighters out of the 3,446 firefighters in the CFHC Trust’s Cancer Program.

Mike Frainier, President of the Colorado Professional Firefighters and Chair of the CFHC Trust Committee stated that, “The addition of thyroid cancer to our program is certainly another major step forward in helping our firefighters beat the cancers that disproportionately impacts their health as members of the fire service.”

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 CFHC 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.

Heart Fitness Grant Funds Expiration Deadline Extended

Expiration of the Firefighter Heart and Fitness Grant funds, allocated between 2017 and 2019, has been extended to June 30, 2022.

Firefighter Heart and Fitness Grant funds can be used to provide reimbursement for costs associated with participation in Colorado State University’s CORE program or a similar basic level of heart health testing. Funds can also be used for cancer screenings or cancer screening expenses. Full program details, including the online reimbursement applications, can be found on our website.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at READ MORE

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.