HARRISBURG – A bill is being introduced which would set up a new state grant program to cover the costs of annual medical exams for all PA firefighters. Some fire companies require firefighters to undergo annual physical exams that include stress tests and preventative health exams. However, the exams cost, on average, $500 to $600 per firefighter, a cost that can serve as a financial barrier preventing firefighters from seeking the care they need. House Bill 1853 provides a new grant program for fire companies that choose to require physical exams. Under the bill, fire companies that opt into the grant program would need to certify that each firefighter receives a minimum two hours of mental health training specifically related to the fire service annually and each firefighter must have completed state firefighter 1 certification to receive the reimbursement. Also, language includes privacy protection and support for collective bargaining agreements that may otherwise supersede aspects of the bill.