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Aiming to get ahead of any psychological impact the COVID-19 public health crisis may have on frontline workers, a proposed New Jersey law would create a temporary task force charged with examining this threat and how to address it.

State Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, would also like to see the Garden State create a "Frontline Mental Health Claims Program," and fund it, in order to help cover related costs for healthcare workers and first responders.

"The state needs to be ahead of the curve in order to make sure that we protect those heroes that helped us through these troubling times," Bucco told New Jersey 101.5.

Bucco's proposals for a PTSD task force and claims program have been added to an extensive bill package created to support frontline workers handling the public health emergency.

"The psychological impact for our healthcare professionals and first responders could be long lasting as a result of this pandemic," Bucco said. "Heroes need help, too. Creating a task force, along with ensuring that our residents who worked in frontline positions during the pandemic have access to mental health services, regardless of coverage, is the right thing to do."

The legislation calls for a task force of 21 members, who would look to identify the likelihood and prevalence of PTSD among those engaging in direct healthcare services, as well as identify ways to respond and mitigate adverse effects.

The claims program would be created within the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

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