BISMARCK, N.D. (SEPT. 21, 2023) – Gov. Doug Burgum and North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance (WSI) today announced a new program to help offset the costs of routine medical exams for paid, full-time firefighters and law enforcement officers.
The Serve & Protect Reimbursement Program is a vital initiative aimed at bolstering the well-being of the state's dedicated firefighters and law enforcement officers.
"The Serve & Protect Reimbursement Program demonstrates our deepest gratitude for the invaluable service provided by our firefighters and law enforcement officers," Burgum said. "We owe it to these brave men and women to ensure they have access to the best possible health care. This program not only alleviates a financial burden but also underscores our commitment to the well-being of those who put their lives on the line every day to keep North Dakota safe."
Employers with an active account who are in good standing with WSI and employ full-time firefighters and/or full-time law enforcement officers are eligible to receive a maximum reimbursement amount up to $250 per employee for routine medical exams. As part of the statutory requirements, an employer is required to pay for a medical exam at no expense to the employee. The medical exam schedule is based on continuous years of service as a paid, full-time firefighter or law enforcement officer regardless of where the service occurred.
“Workforce Safety & Insurance is committed to ensuring North Dakota workplaces are free from preventable injuries and accidents,” WSI Director Art Thompson said. “By partnering with employers on this program, we are not only fulfilling that commitment but also safeguarding those who serve and protect the citizens of North Dakota.”
Eligible employers can find more information on WSI's website: https://www.workforcesafety.com/safety/serve-protect-reimbursement-program.
The program announced today builds upon several bills signed by Burgum during the state Legislature’s 2023 session to support law enforcement and firefighters and show that North Dakota “Backs the Blue”:
- House Bill 1279 expanded workers’ compensation coverage for full-time firefighters and law enforcement officers.
- Senate Bill 2147 exempted law enforcement retirement pay from state income tax – similar to how a bill passed in 2021 exempted military retirement pay – making North Dakota more competitive with other states for peace officers considering where to work and spend their retirement years.
- House Bill 1307 provided $3.5 million that can be used hiring and retention bonuses to new and current officers, including correctional officers, and for providing tuition and fee payments on behalf of law enforcement trainees.
- House Bill 1183 moved peace officers employed by the state to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) retirement plan, ensuring the state’s game wardens, park rangers and parole and probation officers are on a level playing field when it comes to retirement benefits.
- House Bill 1309 adjusted retirement benefits for BCI agents with the goal of allowing them to retire closer to age 55, helping the agency recruit and retain the best and brightest in law enforcement and ensure appropriate succession planning.