New Ohio legislation signed into effect by former Presidential candidate and current governor, John Kasich, will provide firefighters in that state with a new level of healthcare protection.
Governor Kasich recently signed the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act, making it possible for firefighters battling cancer who are “disabled” due to the disease to file for workers’ compensation through the state of Ohio. The bill finally classifies cancer as an occupational disease for firefighters.
This is a bill for which Palumbo and his family have been rallying for some time. Palumbo, a firefighter in Willowick, Ohio, has been dealing with the difficulties of incurable brain cancer since 2015 and it’s been a tough road to travel.
Thanks to this bill, he can finally look forward to compensation that can help make up for lost income and assist with the horrendous medical bills associated with his diagnosis.
Palumbo has been a firefighter for nearly three decades. His brother is also employed by the Willowick Fire Company. They’re delighted that the campaigning they did for this legislation will help others like them, including firefighters who are dealing with mesothelioma, cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos materials are often found in old houses and it’s easy for firefighters to be exposed to the toxic material either during a fire or afterwards, especially if proper gear is not worn.
As a matter of fact, a story aired on Fox 8 Cleveland notes that the Centers for Disease Control have been studying the connection between cancer and the firefighting professional since 2010.
“Their study determined firefighters are at a higher risk for certain types of cancer and cancer-related deaths than the rest of the general U.S. population; citing a possible explanation as an exposure to asbestos,” the TV report noted.
Otherwise known as Senate Bill 27, the Palumbo Act will speed compensation to those who need it most, including mesothelioma victims whose prognosis is often quite grim.
Individuals who are diagnosed with asbestos-caused cancer often live only a year or so after their diagnosis is determined. The disease is severely debilitating and victims usually cannot continue to work or maintain daily activities.
“It’s going to protect them and their families through several different avenues, to get the benefits right away that they deserve,” said Palumbo, who is being lauded by the firefighting communities in both Willowick and Beachwood, where he also served.
“This was a long road coming and it’s finally here,” said Palumbo’s childhood friend and Willowick mayor Richard Regovich. “It’s a good day for Willowick and all the firefighters in Ohio.”
Merle Gorden, mayor of Beachwood, agreed.
“Our first responders are our front line of protection,” he added. “I support Senate Bill 27 because it supports the men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep our community safe, healthy and strong.”