wanted to post this from my experience it is written as an article::

Firefighter Heart attack and Travelers Ins.:

On November 27th 2010 volunteer firefighter K. Boydston along with the Camden Point Fire protection District were called out on a structure fire along with three other fire districts and an ambulance crew. Boydston, 49, was in the second truck out (a Tanker). When the tanker and crew arrived on scene of the working fire they were instructed to drop their porta-tank and fill with the water they had on board. After this was done firefighter Boydston and one cadet firefighter took the tanker to the nearest fire hydrant to establish tanker refill. Upon pulling into position Boydston instructed the cadet to take the hydrant wrench and burp (flush) the hydrant while he, Boydston, retrieved the fill hose. As firefighter Boydston was unrolling the fill hose he (Boydston) had a sharp pain in his finger tips then almost instantly severe pain in the center of his chest and fell to his knees in pain. Quick action by the cadet and the driver of a second tanker from another district that had been called in for mutual aid were able to summon the ambulance crew that was also on scene. While prepping firefighter Boydston for transport a 12 lead was attached and indicated that firefighter Boydston was in fact having a heart attack. Boydston was transported to the nearest hospital where a heart catheterization was performed. Firefighter Boydston was told a clot had been removed and a stint had been placed in the right coronary artery.

After four days in the hospital firefighter Boydston was released from the hospital with the intent that he could return to work on 12/20/2010. It is advisable at this time to note that firefighter Boydston had no early signs or symptoms of a heart issue or symptoms of diabetes. It should also be noted that firefighter Boydston had taken it upon himself to loose weight over the proceeding 12 months and not by doctor’s orders. He had lost approximately 40 pounds in that time frame.

Firefighter Boydston’s workman’s compensation claim was filed in late November and the insurance (Travelers Ins.) contacted firefighter Boydston by telephone within a couple days after arriving home and conducted a phone interview as to what had happened, then emailed firefighter Boydston a medical information release form. Boydston filled out the form and emailed it back to Travelers on 12/1/2010. During the phone interview firefighter Boydston was led to believe that the insurance would not cover him unless it was proven that the fire incident was the actual cause of the heart attack

Following this contact firefighter Boydston waited several days, not hearing or receiving any communication with the Insurance carrier he made several attempts to contact the insurance via phone and email as to the disposition of his claim. Firefighter Boydston not receiving any response had the medical claims filed with his personal insurance so as to not go into default on his medical bills he had incurred. Firefighter Boydston’s personal insurance was very prompt in making the payments to the hospital, doctors, and the ambulance service with no issues and with firefighter Boydston paying his 20% of the bills, all medical claims were paid in a very timely manner.

Firefighter Boydston was not able to get a return call or email from Travelers Insurance till 3/28/2011, at that time Boydston was told again that because they removed a clot, installed a stint and he was diagnosed with diabetes that the insurance would probably not pay any benefit or cover any of the costs because of a probable preexisting condition. Boydston was then told that if he had been a frontline firefighter on that scene there probably would not have been an issue about payment. So then one assumes that in order for this insurance to cover, the firefighters must be on the end of an attack line. All other firefighters in support of the attack line teams are then not covered, according to this insurance carrier.
Boydston was also informed that they, Travelers, had not received the medical information release form which Boydston had sent on 12/1/2010 via email. That also was a cause for delay another reason stated was that Boydston’s personal insurance and himself had paid his medical bills as they came in.

A four month delay and an apparent lack of concern from Travelers is in Boydston’s opinion a major issue. Had Boydston waited for Travelers to make their decision whether or not to pay the medical and missed work the medical providers surely would have put his bills in collections and the collectors would have been calling and ruining Boydston’s credit because of late pay.

Boydston pretty much depleted any savings he had paying his percentage of the medical bills plus the loss of pay that he did not receive for being off work from November 27th to December 20th of 2010.

In conclusion I would suggest that every department that is concerned about their firefighters and there well being, check their workman’s compensation insurance to make sure that all firefighters are covered at all times on a incident they are called out in response to, and also to let your firefighters know that if they are candidates for a heart attack because of conditions they may or may not be aware of outside of the fire service they too may not be covered as it could be classed as a preexisting condition therefore not covered unless it occurs while they are the frontline firefighters manning the attack lines.
Submitted
Kevin Boydston
Lt. EMT Firefighter
Camden Point Fire Protection District
Mayor
City of Camden Point