Will BP Pay Psychiatric Bill for Gulf Spill?
Here's a story that's on its way to Florida at approximately the same rate as the Sea of Oil. It's about the depression and chemical addiction spreading through the coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico among people who owe their livelihood to the ocean. From Nola.com:
Psychiatrists who treated people after Katrina and have held group sessions in oil spill-stricken areas say the symptoms showing up are much the same: Anger. Anxiety. Drinking. Depression. Suicidal thoughts.
On May 28, Alan Levine, former CEO of Broward Health, now the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, sent a letter to BP asking for $10 million to pay for the behavioral health effects of the spill. He sent a similar letter today, which you can read here.
I asked Levine what response he'd gotten from his first letter.
The company, says Levine, said it would add his request to the claims process -- but stopped short of approving the request. Says Levine:
"We aren't waiting for them. I deployed mental health teams to the coast the week after the spill. So we have been there providing services. But we expect BP to cover the cost of recovery for these families.
Seems a matter of time till coastal Floridians experience the same mental health hazards. When they do, let's hope that Louisiana has already established a precedent for getting those bills paid.
Still, it may never get as bad here as it is in Louisiana, where Obama's moratorium on oil drilling has devastated that huge sector of the local economy. Even though the courts threw out that moratorium, workers won't be able to return to their jobs until after Obama's administration has had its appeal heard.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.