Government, Community and Labor Leaders Join Mount Sinai to Celebrate the James Zadroga 911 Health Law
Legislation to Provide Long-Term Health Funding to the Men and Women Adversely Impacted by 9/11
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and U.S. Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) joined labor, union, and community leaders at The Mount Sinai Medical Center to celebrate the inception of the Clinical Centers of Excellence and Data Centers for World Trade Center (WTC) responders. Located at Mount Sinai and several other clinics in the tri-state area, the new Centers of Excellence and Data Centers are the result of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides $4.3 billion in federal funding to address the health crisis surrounding the WTC tragedy.
Landmark Legislation Provides Long-Term Federal Funding to Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program
The landmark Zadroga legislation provides, for the first time, long-term federal funding to support health treatment and monitoring for emergency responders, recovery workers, residents, and area workers who were affected by the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001. Many of these men and women face dire health care issues including lung disease, asthma, esophageal disease, and mental health problems, which are monitored and treated by Mount Sinai and the other clinics in the region. This funding – administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – provides patients with a stable foundation for receiving the care they need. Until this law passed, funding for these men and women was received year to year, and there was no legislative guarantee that it would continue.
"The Obama Administration has made it a top priority to fulfill our obligation to those who showed such bravery, heroism and sacrifice on 9/11 and the months and years that followed," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "As the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act goes into effect we are paying back part of a debt that can never be fully repaid and making sure that first responders and those who lived and worked near the disaster site get the care they need and deserve. Today is a good day for New York. It’s a good day for our country. And our department is proud to provide a program that is caring for those whose courage, compassion and resilience bolstered our nation in our time of need."
The Mount Sinai Medical Center has taken the lead in developing the program, which stands as the federal government’s principal public health response to 9/11, and coordinates the New York-New Jersey Consortium of occupational medicine providers of program services. The WTC Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai identifies mental and physical health problems needing timely treatment; evaluates the health of first responders; monitors the development of symptoms; and researches the effects of 9/11 through data collection and analysis.
In addition to a Clinical Center of Excellence and Data Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, the funding will support the FDNY’s WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, which has provided 9/11-related care to about 16,000 FDNY members, and the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation WTC Environmental Health Center, which has served about 5,400 residents, area workers and other survivors. The Zadroga Act will also provide sustained funding for other clinical centers of excellence and data centers at several health care facilities in the tri-state area, including Bellevue Hospital Center, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in conjunction with Queens College, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
"Today marks a new milestone in the ongoing efforts to address the health impacts wrought by the September 11th terrorist attacks," said Mayor Bloomberg. "New York City has always maintained that our nation must share the responsibility of providing this care and with the Zadroga Act now in effect, the WTC Centers of Excellence can be assured of sustained funding to address the harm that people have suffered in the wake of the attacks. The federal government is now fully engaged in addressing the health concerns of those who answered the call on 9/11, and of the residents, area workers, and other survivors."
Today Marks Official Inception of the WTC Health Program
Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY), authored the Zadroga Bill and ensured its passing in the House, and were supported by Secretary Sebelius, Mayor Bloomberg, and in the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY). The landmark legislation was passed on January 2, 2011, and today marks the official inception of the WTC Health Program.
"To the living victims of 9/11, we have great news: today, the Zadroga Act is taking effect and 9/11 health clinics are officially open for business under the new law," said Congresswoman Maloney. "This is an historic milestone for the more than 36,000 people who have become ill because of the terrible events of 9/11, and the fulfillment of our moral obligation to care for those who rise to the defense of our nation in a time of war. Starting today, $1.5 billion in guaranteed federal funding will begin flowing to the 9/11 health ‘Centers of Excellence’ here at Mount Sinai and across the city, and 9/11 responders and survivors will begin seeing better access to services and care. I’m incredibly grateful to Secretary Sebelius, Mayor Bloomberg, my colleagues in the New York delegation – especially my co-authors, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King – my friends in the labor movement, and the 9/11 responders and survivors who fought for so long to pass the Zadroga Act."
"Today represents the culmination of nearly 10 years of work and struggle by so many people, and I am profoundly moved as our bill – the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act – goes into effect," said Congressman Nadler. "Nearly 10 years ago, the heroes of 9/11 risked their lives and, with phenomenal bravery, ran into burning buildings and smoldering ash to save others. And, for nearly 10 years, they have suffered ill health and death as a result. For so long, we wondered when the federal government would honor its obligations to these heroes of 9/11. Today, we demonstrate concretely, at the site of this incomparable Center of Excellence, that the United States does not forget those who have served."
Centers of Excellence Provide Needed Long-Term Care to 9/11 Responders
The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, with funding from the federal government, offers free, confidential medical and mental health evaluation, long-term treatment and monitoring for eligible WTC rescue, recovery and clean-up workers, including volunteers, who responded to the 9/11terrorist attacks. The Program’s Mount Sinai-coordinated Consortium of Clinical Centers of Excellence have medically screened more than 30,000 WTC rescue and recovery workers and volunteers in all 50 states since the program kicked off in July 2002. The Consortium has also provided more than 66,000 medical monitoring exams.
"This historic legislation will help the Mount Sinai-led consortium of clinical centers provide the long-term care and support the heroes of 9/11 need," said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "We are proud to continue our legacy of improving the health and livelihood of our community."
Mount Sinai Continues Legacy of Leadership in the Research and Treatment of Occupational Medicine
Mount Sinai’s dedication to researching environmental toxins began more than 50 years ago with Dr. Irving Selikoff’s research on the connection between asbestos and cancer. In the 1990s, the establishment of the Selikoff Center for Occupational Medicine paved the way for the free, state-of-the-art care received by the men and women affected by 9/11 through the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program.
Leadership in the research and treatment of occupational medicine has continued under Philip Landrigan MD, Principal Investigator of the Mount Sinai WTC Program’s Data and Coordination Center, Dean of Global Health and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
"The Clinical Center of Excellence is a reflection of Mount Sinai’s long-standing commitment to serve the working men and women of New York City and the tri-state area, dating back to Dr. Irving Selikoff’s discovery of asbestos as a cancer-causing agent," said Dennis. S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "We are proud and deeply honored to lead the charge in providing long-term care for the brave men and women who responded to the tragedy on September 11, 2001."
Dr. Landrigan has seen firsthand the debilitating diseases these patients face. "Through the WTC Monitoring program at Mount Sinai, we have met so many men and women who have given so much of themselves, and their health, for this country," said Dr. Landrigan. "Our studies have shown that long-term monitoring and treatment are absolutely critical to improving the quality of our patients’ lives. The government, union, labor, and community leaders persevered over many years in the face of great adversity to make this possible."
Peter W. May, Chairman of the Mount Sinai Boards of Trustees, said, "The passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act will provide the much-needed long-term care to the men and women affected by the tragedy on September 11, 2001. We are enormously grateful to Representatives Maloney, Nadler, and King, and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, for working tirelessly to address the ongoing needs of these men and women through this historic legislation."
Key Elements of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
The key elements of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act include:
- Providing a total of $4.3 billion in funding for the health and compensation titles of the bill.
- Reopening the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), and providing $2.8 billion in funding for six years.
For more information about the Zadroga Act, go to http://maloney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_issues&task=view_issue&issue=22&Itemid=35.
About The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The school received the 2009 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation's best hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place.