Fire EMS, Firefighting, Leadership

HHS allocates $75M for WTC medical care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the completion of the allocation of $75 million in federal funds for monitoring, screening, analysis and medical treatment of emergency responders and recovery workers at the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster site. These recent awards build on more than $125 million for screening and monitoring of more than 30,000 WTC responders, recovery workers and volunteers that the Department has administered since 2002.

“Today’s action reflects our commitment to provide compassionate, appropriate and timely support to the responders who were affected by World Trade Center exposures following the attacks,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “Continued screening and monitoring will promote further scientific understanding of the nature of WTC health effects and will inform our work going forward.”

Today’s announcement highlights the granting of $40 million to the Fire Department of New York, Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York’s Queens College, Bellevue Hospital/New York University School of Medicine and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The $40 million is in addition to funds previously released. Also, in consultation with grantees, $8 million will be awarded to provide in-patient services to responders. HHS anticipates funds will be spent through 2008 by HHS and grantees for continued monitoring, screening and analysis.

The goal of these funds is to assist workers with everything from medications to specialized diagnostic care and treatment.

“We have worked closely with our partners at the WTC clinical consortium and the New York City Fire Department to ensure that these important programs continue their work to help WTC response workers and volunteers,” said John Howard M.D., WTC Programs Coordinator.

To date, some 30,000 responders have been screened under the WTC Medical Monitoring Program. The program is open to responders in the New York area and across the country who served at Ground Zero. Eligible responders who have not yet been screened are urged to enroll in the program. The funds also support two data coordination centers at the New York City Fire Department and the WTC clinical consortium that provide a data base for scientific reporting on the incidence of responder health conditions and trends in those conditions over time.