9/11 First-responders Get Health Bill
Congress passed a bill Dec. 22 to provide compensation and long-term health benefits for first-responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attack in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. The $4.2 billion bill passed the Senate by a unanimous voice vote and just hours later was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 206 to 60. President Barack Obama received the bill on his desk Dec. 23 and signed it Jan. 2.
Those first on the WTC scene may have been exposed to toxic substances. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (HR 847) amends the Public Health Service Act to establish the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Program) within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as a secondary payer for individuals with a public or private health plan.
Under the bill, the WTC Program provides:
- medical monitoring, including clinical examinations and long-term health monitoring and analysis, and treatment benefits to eligible emergency responders and recovery and cleanup workers (including those who are federal employees) who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks;
- an initial health evaluation, including an evaluation to determine eligibility for follow-up monitoring and treatment, to residents and other building occupants and area workers in NYC who were directly impacted and adversely affected by such attacks;
- follow-up monitoring and treatment and payment for all medically necessary health and mental health care expenses of individuals with a WTC-related health condition, including necessary prescription drugs;
- establishment of an outreach program to potentially eligible individuals concerning the benefits under this Act;
- collection of health and mental health data on individuals receiving monitoring or treatment benefits, using a uniform system of data collection; and
- establishment of a research program on health conditions resulting from the terrorist attacks.
Monitoring and treatment benefits and initial health evaluation benefits are provided without any cost sharing to an eligible WTC responder or any other eligible WTC community member. Payment for such treatment is to be reduced or recouped for work-related conditions to the extent that the WTC Program administrator determines the payment has been made or can reasonably be expected to be made under a workers’ compensation law or plan.
For complete details, read the full text of the bill as passed by Congress.