HHS Distributes $40 Million for WTC Worker Medical Care

Nov. 3, 2006
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it has distributed $40 million to various treatment centers responsible for screening, monitoring and treating World Trade Center emergency responders and recovery workers.

The aid has been granted to:

  • The Fire Department of New York;
  • The 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
  • The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

This amount is part of $75 million for treatment and medical monitoring included in the $125 million for 9/11 responders that was originally rescinded in the Bush Administration's fiscal year 2007 budget, but was successfully restored by the New York-area delegation last year.

"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."

Shortly before the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Leavitt met with Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., other members of Congress, advocates and sick ground zero workers to discuss how and when the first federal money for treating illnesses related to the 2001 terrorist attacks would be distributed.

Leavitt agreed to expedite the distribution of the money, which was originally planned to go out over a period of 3 years.

Congressional Leaders Applaud HHS' Swift Action

Congressional leaders such as Sen. Hilary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., applauded HHS' swift action as they stated the need for the workers to receive medical care is urgent.

"They came to our rescue in our time of need and we must do the same," Clinton said. "I am grateful that the Department of Health and Human Services is distributing a significant amount of the $75 million we secured so that we can continue to do what is right for these heroes."

"The money released today is a good step in ensuring that all first responders and those affected by the toxic air at Ground Zero get the treatment they need," Schumer said.

The $40 million is in addition to funds previously released, HHS said. Also, in consultation with grantees, $8 million will be awarded to provide in-patient services to responders.

In a statement, HSS said it anticipates that the agency, along with grantees, will use spend the funds through 2008 for continued monitoring, screening and analysis.

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